Futurism Explained: Protest and Modernity in Art

Speeding Train by Ivo Pannaggi, 1922, via Fondazione Carima-Museo Palazzo Ricci, Macerata

When hearing the word “futurism,” images of science fiction and utopian visions tend to come to mind. However, the term was not initially linked to spaceships, final frontiers, and surreal technologies. Instead, it was a celebration of the modern world and a dream of movement that never stops: a revolution in ideologies and perceptions.

Coined by the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909, the word “futurism” first appeared in the Italian Newspaper Gazzetta dell’Emilia on February 5th. A few weeks later, it was translated to French and published by the French newspaper Le Figaro. It was then that the idea took the world of culture by storm, reshaping first Italy and then spreading further to conquer new minds. Like various other art movements, Futurism took flight to break away from tradition and celebrate modernity. However, this movement was one of the first and the few that pushed nonconformism to its limits. With its unyielding militant nature, Futurist art and ideology were bound to become dictatorial; it sought to demolish the past and bring change, glorifying violent raptures.

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