Modern futurist painting, declared Carlo Carrà, must expand its field to the expression of auditory and olfactory perceptions by creating parallelisms between forms, colors, sounds and odors. In this manifesto he argued “it is indisputable that 1, silence is static and sounds, noises and smells are dynamic. 2, sounds, noises and odors are nothing but different shapes and intensity of vibration. 3, any succession of sounds, noises, print smells in the mind an arabesque of shapes and colors.” The text is from a collection of Futurist documents held by the University Library of Padua. Futurism was a short-lived artistic movement, founded in 1909 by the Italian writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876‒1944). The goal of the Futurists was to discard the art of the past and to usher in a new age that rejected tradition and celebrated change, originality, and innovation in culture and society. The original Futurist manifesto of 1909, written by Marinetti, exalted the beauty of the machine and the new technology of the automobile, with its speed, power, and movement. The Futurists glorified violence and conflict and called for the destruction of cultural institutions such as museums and libraries. Marinetti also founded and edited a journal, Poesia (Poetry). Marinetti’s original manifesto was followed by Futurist manifestoes on sculpture, painting, literature, architecture, and other fields written by other members of the movement. Prominent Futurists included painter and sculptor Umberto Boccioni (1882‒1916); painters Carlo Carrà (1881‒1966), Giacomo Balla (1871‒1958), and Gino Severini (1883‒1966); painter and composer Luigi Russolo (1885‒1947); and architect Antonio Sant’Elia (1888‒1916). Several of the Futurists, notably Boccioni and Sant’Elia, were killed during World War I.
References: Elza Adamowicz and Simona Storchi, editors, Back to the Futurists: The avant-garde and its legacy (Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 2013). | John James White, “Futurism,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/art/Futurism#ref1052836. | “Words in Freedom: Futurism at 100.” An exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2009. https://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2009/futurism/.
Place: Europe; Italy
Institution: University Library of Padua
Physical description: 4 pages