AN EXPLORATION OF ART HISTORY
Umberto Boccioni, an Italian Futurists, died at a young age of thirty-three. Despite dying very young, he was very productive in his lifetime. Boccioni worked primarily as a painter however, he also produced drawings, prints, and sculptures. All his work was infused with the energetic movement that referenced the Futurist movement and the modern machine age. Boccioni was a leading member of Italian Futurism, and in 1910 he was one of the signers of the first Manifesto of the Futurist Painters and the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting. The Futurist period was an art movement that started in Italy in 1909. Futurists violently rejected traditional styles and often celebrated and incorporated energy, movement, and dynamism of modern technology. Followers of the movement also believed in glorifying war and showing Italian nationalism.
The Unique Forms of Continuity in Space was created by Umberto Boccioni in 1913. This was one of Boccioni’s few cast pieces however, he skillfully executes the essence of the futurist movement. The unknown figure strides through space almost appearing in a superhuman fashion. Bonded to the base, Boccioni created movement in the sculpture by attaching wing like extensions from the body. The bronze casting has a heavy quality however, the flame like style of the sculpture also has a lightness as well. This juxtaposition makes the sculpture interesting and ever-changing. The shapes and angles of the sculpture change as one circles the figure. Each perspective is different, making the figure more ambiguous. This sculpture perfectly embodies the Futurist movement because of it’s strength and fast pace quality.
Both Katie and I agree that this is a well made and meaningful sculpture. We both have seen this sculpture in many tests and we were fortunate to see it twice at the MOMA and Guggenheim. For me, my love for the piece grew each time I saw it. Being able to see the sculpture in person was especially exciting because I was able to walk and see all angles of the work. I love how the sculpture transforms as you walk around it. At some points the sculpture looked more abstract than a figure. I also find that the juxtapositions in the piece make it more interesting such as heavy vs. lightness, strength and solidness vs. fluidity. The vitality and strength of the figure really shows the roots of the sculpture. I find the Futurist movement really interesting because of the extreme nationalism that Italy had. They embodied movement and war in a way that I’m not sure the world has seen since then. For the most part art has turned towards protesting against war. It is fascinating how our views have changed in such a short period.