In 1909, the Italian futurist movement began with the Manifesto Le Futurisme written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and first published in the French newspaper Le Figaro. The manifesto declared a new era for art that would be free from the influence of tradition by feeding from the chaotic flames of “violence, cruelty, and injustice.”
His main aim was to topple established mechanisms of art in order to facilitate the room for future unprecedented forms.
“Let us leave good sense behind like a hideous husk and let us hurl ourselves, like fruit spiced with pride, into the immense mouth and breast of the world! Let us feed the unknown, not from despair, but simply to enrich the unfathomable reservoirs of the Absurd!”
Marinetti uses a lot of violent imagery to show his disdain for museums, women, and even peace. He wanted to use language as a weapon and that’s what he did after he threw his support behind Mussolini.
“We want to demolish museums and libraries, fight morality, feminism and all opportunist and utilitarian cowardice.”
As he and his fellow artists schemed new forms of painting, textiles, architecture, gastronomy, sculpture, font, sound, music, and theater, the world around them was creating countless new technologies that only feed their creativity. Two notable developments were film and sound recording, but it didn’t stop there. Even airplanes were adopted as thespians for theatrical performances in the clouds above.
With his savvy media skills and polished charm, Marinetti became the ‘caffeine of Europe’ and set out to spread his Futurist message while adopting ideas from other emerging movements such as cubism. As time went on, many of these other art movements distanced themselves from the Italian Futurists due to their enthusiastic view of art as a new technological form of warfare.
“It is in Italy that we are issuing this manifesto of ruinous and incendiary violence, by which we today are founding Futurism, because we want to deliver Italy from its gangrene of professors, archaeologists, tourist guides and antiquaries.”
Being a complicated man, Marinetti lived his life with no short supply of dualism. Despite being an Italian nationalist who co-wrote the Alceste De Ambris (Fascist Manifesto) he was born in Egypt and did almost all of his early poetry in French. He spent his whole adult life cursing the faults of women and marriage, but he eventually took a wife and became a catholic. He subsequently determined Jesus was a Futurist.
Marinetti later survived serving in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War as well as World War II, but couldn’t dodge a heart attack while working on a collection of poems praising the heroism of Decima Flottiglia MAS on December 2nd, 1944.