Umberto Boccioni

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Umberto Boccioni

Issued on 11 April 1910, the Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting outlined the signatories' intention to capture movement, particularly the notion of speed in an innovative way. Umberto Boccioni spent the years from 1910 to 1912 trying to fulfil this ambition. He applied Divisionist techniques that he developed during his training in Neo-Impressionist painting to his cityscapes, creating an ever-increasing sense of movement and direction in his work. Influential styles such of the separating of colours into individual dots or patches, as introduced by Paul Signac (1863-1935) initially give the Futurists a means to follow their pursuit of dynamism. The Futurist painters attempted to create the illusion of speed by using small dabs of colour that the viewer combines optically, rather than physically mixing pigments. Boccioni introduced 'force lines' which are defined as straight parallel or intersecting streaks of paints that are used to give direction to the dynamic subject matter.

However, it was not until he visited Paris in 1911, that he became familiar with the work of Cubist painters such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, which later influenced much of his theories behind the art. The fragmented planes of Analytic Cubism broke down subject matter into segments at different angles and rebuilt shapes giving perspectives that could not be challenged by the visual perfection of photography. The idea of 'suggesting' movement or dynamism rather than depicting it was a theory that Boccioni related to. Boccioni and other Futurist painters realised that they were able to achieve a systematic method of depicting mechanized movement. They took Cubism's broken planes, multiple angles and staggered repetition of the same image and applied it to the depiction of shifting time and space. They used brighter more vibrant colours than the Cubists and chose machines, such as automobiles, trains and...