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Essay: Analyzing Umberto Boccioni’s The City Rises: A Futurist Masterpiece

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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
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Paste your essay in here… Sarah Northrop

Modern Art—Fall 2018

Annotated Bibliography

Umberto Boccioni, The City Rises, 1910

Campbell-Johnston, Rachel. 2009. "The City Rises By Umberto Boccioni (1910); Modern Art Explained". The Times (London, England), 2009.

This short article from The Times offers enlightening interpretations about Boccioni’s painting, descriptions from several critics and historians touching on the themes and imagery of the Futurist movement and how they are present in the painting. The article reads like a list of reviews geared towards a general audience interested in learning more about the painting’s history. The statements provide a good template for how I may go about describing Boccioni’s painting in my essay.

Cody, Steven J. 2013. "Prelude To A Philosophy Of The Future". Storia Dell ArteSep-Dec (136): 125-138.

Most interpretations of The City Rises focus on the painting’s strong iconography, hailing the painting as a significant indicator of the political and social structures at its time. While Cody considers The City Rises was the singular most important painting to emerge from the Futurist movement, he argues that Boccioni’s artistic decisions for the painting were more philosophical in nature, rather than as having an intended iconography. Cody presents The City Rises as a single image as an index to educate scholars of the role German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche played in our history’s consideration of the early Futurist painting. He believed Nietzsche’s thought informed the Futurist movement and provided a determining factor in the production of The City Rises. , theories Boccioni was able to relate his own experience to about his place within the changing early-20th century.

* Main focus or purpose of the Journal

* Usefulness or relevance to your research topic

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* Conclusions or observations reached by the author

* Conclusions or observations reached by you

Fergonzi, Flavio, and Gianni Mattioli. 2003. The Mattioli Collection. Milano, Italy: Skira.

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* Background and credibility of the author

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* Conclusions or observations reached by you

Martin, Marianne. 1983. "Study For The City Rises". Art Journal 43 (3): 278.

This article was part of a review of a Futurist art exhibit at Yale, written by one of Yale’s art professors. The article mentions Marinetti’s unpublished first manifesto, in which the writer, Martin, focuses on the Father of Futurism’s objection towards art museums. Marinetti claims museums give art a finality and completion. His observation inspires a potential direction I could take my research paper about how futurist works like The City Rises present action and progress in a way that they are constant, continuous, and never finished.

McKever, Rosalind. 2016. "Frozen In The Future". Apollo: The International Magazine For Collectors 184 (644): 60-68.

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* Main focus or purpose of the Art Magazine

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* Background and credibility of the author

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* Conclusions or observations reached by you

Poggi, Christine. 2009. Inventing Futurism. Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press.

Poggi’s book reflects critically on Marinetti’s founding of Futurism from its cultural practices and the movement’s lasting legacy. Poggi dedicates a chapter to a thorough analysis of The City Rises, offering an intimate window into Boccioni’s history (through a series of quotes from his personal diary) and how the evolving city of Milan influenced and informed his paintings. Poggi heavily refers to Marinetti’s “Founding Manifesto,” highlighting the Futurist’s myth of the modern metropolis and the idea of an ideal, futurist city. The chapter also offers a micro history on artificial lighting, and how this invention transformed the economy and labor force. I am curious to learn Boccioni originally titled his painting “Workers” in honor of those upon whose back industry was built, and how the painting’s renaming outcasted the working class in favor of the rich.

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