It is part of the Biagiotti Collection and it is usually kept in Guidonia, in the province of Rome, but until May 12th, ‘Genio Futurista‘ (Futurist Genius) by the great Futurist artist Giacomo Balla is exposed at the Gallerie D’Italia in Milan. This is a unique opportunity to admire the masterpiece of one of the founders of the signers of the 1910 Futurist Manifesto.
Balla, born in Turin in 1871, as a child worked in a lithograph print shop and there he developed the interest in visual art which led him to study painting at the University of Turin before moving to Rome in 1895 where he worked in Rome as an illustrator, caricaturist and portrait painter. Since 1899, starting with the Venice Biennale, his works were exhibited all over Europe – in Rome, Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Rotterdam, and at the Salon d’Automne in Paris.
‘Futurist Genius‘, an imposing oil painted in 1925 on a 279 x 381 cm arras canvas, was exhibited in the pavilion of the decorative arts of the Paris Exhibition of 1925 and was considered, both by critics and by the artist himself, the pivotal work of his participation. Indeed, the Parisian exhibition sanctioned the international popularity of Futurists who, interpreting the theories of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in the previous decade, had revolutionized the ideological and artistic world.
The myth of speed and dynamism was linked to a new concept of art, which the Futurists intended as concrete actions that translated into a hymn to modernity, to progress, and to machines embodying the optimistic and progressive vision of the beginning of the century.
The tapestry, which was then again exhibited at the 1928 Amatori e Cultori exhibition in Rome, is an anthropomorphic symbol of Italy. The colors of the Italian flag – red, white, and green – are embedded on a blue and azure background to form a ‘prismatic’ composition centered on a very schematic human figure which has the head in the shape of a star, symbol of Italy.