Giacomo Balla Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
7-18-1871 Turin, ITA – 3-1-1958 Rome, ITABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Giacomo Balla was a key supporter and innovator of Futurism. His oil paintings embraced movement, action, noise, and dynamism.
After a conventional art training in his native Turin, Giacomo Balla went to Paris in 1901 where he was strangely influenced by Impressionism and Divisionism. For quite a while he worked in Rome as an artist, caricaturist and portrait painter. In 1899, his work was displayed at the Venice Biennale, which had been initiated in 1895. In the next years, his art appeared at major significant presentations in Rome, Venice, Munich, Berlin, and at the Salon d'Automne in Paris. In 1910 he signed the Futurist Manifesto, publicizing his responsibility regarding a type of art that would express the lively dynamism of the twentieth century.
Painting speed through the use of overlapping images.
In his paintings, Giacomo Balla tried to convey the impression of speed through the use of overlapping images like time lapse photography. Balla's works, such as Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash (shown below) or The Hand Of The Violinist, both show the illusion of motion in a still painting. One of his inspirations was the time lapse photography of Étienne-Jules Marey, showing, for example, a man jumping over a hurdle, from the time he started to the time he finished.
Futurism lost its freshness and idealism during World War 1 and in the 1920s it became increasingly stereotyped and associated with Fascism. As a result, Giacomo Balla turned to more abstract forms and from 1930 onward tended to return to the more mainstream styles of figurative painting. Nevertheless, echoes of Balla's technique may be found in many works of the late twentieth century which use blurred or overlapping images to suggest rapid movement.