Love for Speed…in Art

A Milanese poet, by the name of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was on a quest to portray the beauty of machinery and the modern age. Marinetti considered himself to be the most modern man in his country and at the time was considered to be a genius of publicity, by using every outlet of publicity to spread his ideas on Futurism.

Figure 1: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

For the Futurist art before theirs was to be abandoned and rejected as there needed to be space for the new art. Machinery for them was considered power and a freedom from their historical restraints in Italy. Futurists believed that the world was enriched by a new beauty – the beauty of speed, as said in their first manifesto. The artists were also highly influenced by the photos of Etienne Jeune Mariee, who managed to capture movement in a photograph, by presenting the sequences of movement next to each other.

Figure 2: Etienne Jeune Mariee’s chronophotographie. 

Boccioni was considered to be the most gifted of the 20th century Italian Futurists artists (Hughes 1980). Born in Italy in 1882 the artist joined Marinetti. His death was caused by the very thing he praised so much, war, in 1916. One of his famous paintings The City Rises challenges the ideas of machinery, space and movement. The human and animal figures are blurred suggesting them to be primitive and feeble, while the building structures are secure and strong, implying that they have more structure and reliability than the creatures.

Figure 3: Umberto Boccioni ‘The City Rises‘ 1910. 


Hughes, R. 1980. The Shock of the New – Ep 1 – The Mechanical Paradise. Available:

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