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Giacomo Balla

1871-1958

Giacomo Balla was born in 1871 in Turin. He was a painter, sculptor, designer and author of “free words”. Since he was a child Balla showed a passion for art, expecially for painting and drawing. Trough the influence of his father, he discovered also the passion for photography. After high school, Balla decides to attend the Academy of Fine Arts and begins to exhibit in Turin in 1891. In 1895 Balla leaves Turin to settle in Rome, where he will live his entire life. In the capital he is in the vanguard for the new pointillist technique, and finds a good entourage of students.

In the fall of 1900 he moves for a period in Paris. In 1903, he moves back to Rome where he meets Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini and Mario Sironi at the “Scuola libera del nudo”. Between Balla and Boccioni will born a strong friendship that will lead troguh different paths of research on the Futurist trend. In 1909 he attends the “Salon d’Automne” in Paris, and at the Salon of Odessa.

In 1909 when Filippo Tommaso Marinetti publishes the first Futurist Manifesto, Giacomo Balla will join the movement with Boccioni, Carrà and Russolo. In 1910 are published the Futurist Painters Manifesto and the Technical Manifesto of the Futurist Painting. In the 1914 starts composing “free words – parolibere”, to participate in the interventional futurist group. In 1915, together with Depero, publishes the manifesto of the Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe. In the years of the first World War Balla pursues the idea of a total art. Especially after the death of Boccioni in 1916 he became the undisputed star of the movement. Infact he plans the scenes for Feu d’artifice of Igor Stravinsky in 1917, ballet staged at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. He creates also decor, furniture and ornaments and also participates at the sequences of the film “Vita futurista”, attending the shooting with Marinetti. In October of 1918 he publishes the Manifesto of the color, which analyzes the role of color in the avant-garde painting.

During his adhesion to the Futurism, which Balla will retract at the end of the thirties, going back to figurative painting, in 1926 sculpts a statue with the inscription at the base “I came to give a government to Italy”, directly delivered to Mussolini. In 1937, however, Balla writes a letter to the newspaper “Perseo” where he declares himself unrelated to Futurist. activities. From that moment Balla is set aside by the official culture, until the reevaluation of his work after the war. He died the first of March in the 1958 at the age of eighty-seven years old.

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