Giacomo Balla Giacomo Balla Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla

(born, Torino, Piedmont, Italy 1871 — died, Roma 1958)

Born in Turin on July 18, 1871, Giacomo Balla studied music as a child and was mostly self-taught as an artist. His early, pre-Futurist period was influenced by the Pointilism of Georges Seurat and Italian Divisionism, a style developed by a group in northern Italy that shared Impressionism's concern with capturing the effects of light.

Balla was one of the founding members of the first wave of Futurist painters and was well established as a teacher, with Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini among pupils. Balla's participation in the Futurist movement coincided with a dramatic change in his painting style, when in about 1909 he became preoccupied with the pictorial depiction of light, movement and speed as outlined by the Futurists primary objective to depict movement, which they saw as symbolic of their commitment to the dynamic forward thrust of the twentieth century. These paintings addressed themes of work and humanitarian issues, reflecting his Socialist politics. Through Futurism Balla celebrated the machine and his early futurist paintings were concerned with capturing figures and objects in motion. Balla attempted to realize movement by showing the forms in repeated sequence. Paintings, such as Dog on a Leash, got to grips with the problem of recreating speed and flight by superimposing images.

Giacomo Balla: Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912 Giacomo Balla
Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: The Hand of the Violinist, 1912 Giacomo Balla
The Hand of the Violinist, 1912
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Abstract Speed - The Car Has Passed, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Abstract Speed - The Car Has Passed, 1913
Oil on Canvas

Some painters took the significant step to move away from figuration and imitation. Instead of representing a moving car they gave expression to movement by means of abstract forms, as in Balla's Abstract Speed. What these paintings show is that to represent a new concept of space, i.e. space-time, it was necessary to do it with a new formal vocabulary. — Prof. Dr. Leandro Madrazo

Giacomo Balla: Flight of the Swallows, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Flight of the Swallows, 1913
Tempera on Paper
Giacomo Balla: Lines of Movement and Dynamic Succession, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Lines of Movement and Dynamic Succession, 1913
Tempera on Paper
Giacomo Balla: Speed of a Motorcycle, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Speed of a Motorcycle, 1913
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Shape Noise Motorcyclist, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Shape Noise Motorcyclist, 1913
Tempera on Paper
Giacomo Balla: Speeding Automobile, Auto en Course, Etude de Vitesse, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Speeding Automobile, Auto en Course, Etude de Vitesse, 1913
Oil on Board
Giacomo Balla: Swifts, Paths of Movement and Dynamic Sequences, 1913 Giacomo Balla
Swifts, Paths of Movement and Dynamic Sequences, 1913
Oil on Canvas

Leading up to 1914 he decomposed movement and light as his compositions gradually moved closer to total abstraction. By 1914 Balla was advocating a Futurist lifestyle - he even named his two daughters Propeller and Light - and his energies expanded to include sculpture and the applied arts.

Giacomo Balla: Abstract Speed and Sound, VelocitÓ Astratta e Rumore, 1913-14 Giacomo Balla
Abstract Speed and Sound, VelocitÓ Astratta e Rumore, 1913-14
Oil on Board
Giacomo Balla: Mercury Passing Before the Sun, 1914 Giacomo Balla
Mercury Passing Before the Sun, 1914
Tempera on Canvas Board
Giacomo Balla: Paesaggio e Temporale, 1914 Giacomo Balla
Paesaggio e Temporale, 1914
Score
Giacomo Balla: Vortice, 1914 Giacomo Balla
Vortice, 1914
Oil on Paper

From 1913 onward, Balla decided to change the signature on his paintings to "Future Balla."


Giacomo Balla: Plastic Construction of Noise and Speed, 1915 Giacomo Balla
Plastic Construction of Noise and Speed, 1915
Polymer Construction
Giacomo Balla: Black and White Futurist Forcefield, 1916 Giacomo Balla
Black and White Futurist Forcefield, 1916
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Streamlines Future, 1916 Giacomo Balla
Streamlines Future, 1916
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Warship, Widow and Wind, 1916 Giacomo Balla
Warship, Widow and Wind (Veil of Vedova and Landscape), 1916
Oil on Burlap
Giacomo Balla: Black and White Synthesis of Movement, 1917 Giacomo Balla
Black and White Synthesis of Movement, 1917
Tempera on Board
Giacomo Balla: Alberi Mutilati, 1918 Giacomo Balla
Alberi Mutilati, 1918
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Black and White Primavera, Spring, 1918 Giacomo Balla
Black and White Primavera, Spring, 1918
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Gouache Study, FUTUR, 1918 Giacomo Balla
Gouache Study, FUTUR, 1918
Gouache on Paper
Giacomo Balla: Form-Spirit Transformation, 1918 Giacomo Balla
Form-Spirit Transformation, 1918
Oil on Canvas

In the Twenties, during the so-called second wave of Futurism, Balla was still a compelling force within the ranks of the new, young Futurists, being the only artist of the first wave of Futurism to be involved in the second, post-war phase. Gradually giving more value to geometric forms, his style regularly alternated between abstract machine-like constructions and figurative representations. By the end of the decade he had distanced himself from the Futurist movement even though he co-signed the Manifesto of Aeropainting in 1929 (with Marinetti, Benedetta, Dottori, Depero, Fillia, Prampolini and others) and exhibited with them in 1931. His style remained strongly figurative for the remainder of his career. Giacomo Balla died in 1958.

Giacomo Balla: Pessimismo e Optimismo, 1923 Giacomo Balla
Pessimismo e Optimismo, 1923
Oil on Canvas
Giacomo Balla: Numbers in Love, 1924 Giacomo Balla
Numbers in Love, 1924
Oil on Burlap

Links:
— Giacomo Balla
Giacomo Balla: Italian painter and one of the founders of Futurism - Artchive
Giacomo Balla: A History in Nine Parts - Artinvest2000, 20th Century Italian Art Portal

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