European avant-garde

Following up on a lecture today on European avant-garde, I just wanted topost a few images that I found interesting.

Even though I am not very much into paintings, this picture by Umberto Boccioni did catch my eye. Called “visioni simultanee” and painted in 1911, it depicts a dynamic futuristic city – a person looking down onto busy streets and a city in movement,  with strong colours communicating a sort of dramatic atmosphere.

Another artist/ architect from the same period is Antonio Sant’Elia who wrote about and designed futuristic architecture based on Utopian ideas and visions which was spreading through people’s minds at the time. He wrote in his manifesto of furturistic architecture “…by blowing sky-high, for a start, all those monuments and monumental pavements, arcades and flights of steps, by digging out our streets and piazzas, by raising the level of the city, by reordering the earth’s crust and reducing it to be the servant of our every need and every fancy.”

Le Corbusier was a bit more specific “The layout must be of a purely geometrical kind …The city of today is a dying thing because it is not geometrical.  To build in the open would be to replace our present haphazard arrangements…by a uniform layout.  Unless we do this there is no salvation.”

I can’t say that I agree in the way of thinking, but it fascinating, the intensity and ambition in the architects mind put on paper, leaving us with images like those above. Especially taking into consideration that the cities a 100 years ago did not look anything like the motives in the images – today however, they might not be far apart.


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