Giacomo Balla was a renowned and notable Italian painter, stage designer, sculptor and designer who is said to be a pioneer and leading member of the Futurist movement of art.
Giacomo Balla was born on July 24, 1871, in Turin, Italy. Most of Giacomo’s skill was due to his natural and gifted talent, and his relentless pursuit of observation and self-training through experimentation. He briefly attended the art academy in Turin, and in his twenties, he moved to Rome, the art capital of Italy.
During his youth, Giacomo was largely influenced and inspired by the style and methods of French Neo-Impressionism that had piqued his interests in 1900, during his 9 months stay in Paris, during this time he was fascinated and captivated with futuristic pictures, which were to form his lifelong interest and work with artificial light, segmentation of moving objects and geometrical shapes. After returning to Rome from his journey, Giacomo adopted the Neo-Impressionist approach that he intermingled with his interest and fascination with rendering light and its effects.
The famous Milanese poet, Filippo Marinetti, had a profound and deep-rooted effect on Giacomo’s artistic and literary perceptions, and in 1909, Marinetti launched the leading European art movement, Futurism, which aimed to rejuvenate and energize Italian culture by embracing and adjusting with the innovations and developments of modern science and technology. Giacomo became an active and leading exponent of the movement, and in 1910, in collaboration with several other Italian artists, he published ‘The Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting’.
Giacomo Balla was a lyrical painter, whose art did not deal with modern technology, machinery, violence or any other elements of the modern light. His unique taste, distinctive subject matter and unparalleled style conveys an intense power and urgency that depicts the imagination of Futurism and the dynamism of modern life. Some of his best known and widely celebrated works include, ‘The Street Light-Study of Light’, produced in 1909, it is a powerful and engaging depiction of light. Similarly, ‘Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash’ that was produced in 1912, depicts the bond shared by a woman who is walking her dog on a boulevard.
With the advent of WWI, Giacomo’s art began to convey and capture the velocity of movement with the use of planes of colours that, and he began experimenting and exploring stage design, graphic design and even acting. He worked with a wide and diverse variety of material that range from cardboard, fabric, aluminium foil to mirrors and coloured glass. With his iconic and remarkably stunning ‘Complessi Plastici’, Giacomo retained the status of the pioneer artists who paved the way for the development of abstract sculpture. Soon, Giacomo also began designing clothing, vases, lamps as well as carpets.
Towards the end of his career, he began to move away from the principles of Futurism towards the traditional representational art and the veristic representation of themes
Giacomo Balla passed away in 1958, in Rome.