Balla, Giacomo

Balla, Giacomo, 1871–1958, Italian painter, one of the founders of futurism. He moved from Turin to Rome in his twenties and began painting in a realist style. He travelled (1900) to Paris, where he was influenced by neoimpressionism and particularly by divisionism (or pointillism), and on his return to Rome he began to paint in this style, which he also taught to Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini. Balla came under the influence of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the founder (1909) of literary futurism, and in 1910 he and other artists signed the Manifesto of Futurist Painting. Balla sought to express motion, speed, and light in his futurist paintings. His best-known painting is probably Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (1912, Albright-Knox Art Gall., Buffalo), in which the rapid steps of a small dog are rendered like overlaid frames of a motion picture. Among his other works are Speeding Car (1912, Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) and Abstract Speed and Sound (1913–14). He also created futurist sculptures and graphics. In the 1920s he began experimenting with other techniques and by the 30s he had returned to more traditional styles.

See studies by V. Dortch-Dorazio (1969), S. B. Robinson (1981), and M. F. Dell'Arco (1988)

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