A 20th century art movement with its roots in Italian and Russian beginnings, Futurism began with the writing of a 1907 essay on music by the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni. In the essay, he explored every medium of art to convey its meanings.
The Italian poet, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, was the first to produce an article in which was summed up the major principles that became the Manifesto of Futurism in 1909. It included the passionate loathing of ideas from the past including an enmity of political and artistic traditions while it embraced a love for speed and technology.
The philosophy of Futurism regarded the car, the plane, and the industrial town representations of the technological triumph of mankind over nature. With Marinetti at the helm, a few artists of the time introduced the tenets of the philosophy to the visual arts and represented the movement in its first phase in 1910. The Russian Futurists were fascinated with dynamism and the restlessness of modern urban life. They purposefully provoked controversy and attracted attention to their works through insulting reviews of the static art of the past. The circle of Russian Futurists was predominantly literary as opposed to being overtly artistic.
Cubo-Futurism was a school of Russian Futurism formulated in 1913, and many of the works incorporated Cubism’s usage of angular forms combined with the Futurist predisposition for dynamism. The Futurist painter, Kazimir Malevich, was the artist to develop the style, but dismissed it for the inception of the artistic style known as Suprematism. It focused upon the fundamental geometric shapes as a form of non-objective art.
Suprematism grew around Malevich, with most prominent works being produced between 1915 and 1918, but for the most part, the movement died out by 1934 in Stalinist Russia.
Though at one point, Russian poets and artists that considered themselves Futurists collaborated on works such a Futurist opera, the Russian movement broke down from persecution for their belief in free thought at the start of the Stalinist age. Italian Futurists were strongly linked with the early fascists with the hope of modernizing the society and economy in the 1920s through 1930s. Marinetti founded the Futurist Political Party in early 1918, later absorbed into Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party.
As tensions grew within the various artistic groups that considered themselves Futurists, many Futurists became associated with fascism. As fascism spread in Europe, Futurist architecture was born. Interesting examples of this style are still around today, even though many Futurist architects were at odds with the fascist taste for Roman imperial patterns. Futurism even influenced many other 20th century art movements such as Dadaism, Surrealism, and Art Deco styles. Futurism, as a movement, faded away with the death of Marinetti in 1944.
As Futurism gave way to the actual future of things, the ideals of the artistic movement remained significant in Western culture through the expressions of the commercial cinema and culture.
Their even influence is present in modern Japanese anime and cinema. The Cyberpunk genre of films and books owe much to the Futurist tenets. The movement even spawned Neo-Futurism, a new form of theater, focused on Futurism’s themes . Much of Futurism’s inspiration came from the previous movement of Cubism that involved such famed artists as Pablo Picasso and Paul Cezanne. Cubism created much of the basis for Futurism through its philosophy.