(born Oct. 19, 1882, Reggio di Calabria, Italy—died Aug. 16, 1916, Verona) Italian painter, sculptor, and theorist. He was trained in the studio of Giacomo Balla (1871–1958) in Rome. The most energetic member of the Futurist group (seealso Futurism), Boccioni helped publish Technical Manifesto of the Futurist Painters (1910), promoting the representation of modern technology, power, time, motion, and speed. These ideas are best shown in his masterpiece of early modern sculpture, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913). His painting The City Rises (1910) is a dynamic composition of swirling human figures in a fragmented crowd scene.
Learn more about Boccioni, Umberto with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Umberto Boccioni (October 19 1882 – August 17 1916) was a painter and a sculptor. Like other Futurists, his work centered on the portrayal of movement (dynamism), speed, and technology. He was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy.
Umberto Boccioni studied art through the Scuola Libera del Nudo at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, beginning in 1901. He also studied design with a sign painter in Rome. Together with his friend Gino Severini, he became student of Giacomo Balla, a divisionist painter. In 1906, Boccioni studied Impressionist and Post-Impressionist styles in Paris. During later 1906 and early 1907, he shortly took drawing classes at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice. In 1901, Boccioni first visited the Famiglia Artistica, a society for artists in Milan. After moving there in 1907, he became acquainted with fellow Futurists including the famous poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. The two would later join with others in writing manifestos on futurism.
Boccioni became the main theorist of the artistic movement. He also decided to be a sculptor after he visited various studios in Paris, in 1912, among which those of Braque, Archipenko, Brancusi, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and, probably, Medardo Rosso. While in 1912 he exhibited some paintings together with other Italian futurists at the Bernheim-Jeun, in 1913 he returned to show his sculptures at the Gallerie La Boetie: all related to the elaboration of what Boccioni had seen in Paris, they in their turn probably influenced the cubist sculptors, especially Duchamp-Villon.
In 1914, he published Pittura e scultura futuriste (dinamismo plastico) explaining the esthetics of the group: “While the impressionists make a table to give one particular moment and subordinate the life of the table to its resemblance to this moment, we synthesize every moment (time, place, form, color-tone) and thus build the table.” He exhibited in London, together with the group, in 1912 (Sackville Gallery) and 1914 (Doré Gallery): the two exhibitions made a deep impression on the young English artists: some joined then the Vorticism, led by Wyndham Lewis.
Mobilized in the declaration of war, Boccioni was assigned at an artillery regiment at Sorte, near Verona. On 16 August 1916, Boccioni accidentally was thrown from his horse during a cavalry training exercise and was trampled. He died the following day, age thirty-four.
This Furious Futurist Is Just Old Hat; GOING BACKWARDS: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Boccioni Now Feels Dated
Jan 25, 2009; Byline: Mark Hudson Unique Forms: The Drawings And Sculpture Of Umberto Boccioni Estorick Collection, London Until April 19 The...