A little hint about life
Giacomo Balla was born on 18 July 1871 in Turin from Lucia Giannotti, seamstress, and Giovanni, industrial chemist, passionate amateur photographer. An only child, his father is orphaned at the age of nine; it owes its social rise to the determination of the mother who invests all her earnings on the education of her child. From an early age he showed interest in art: he began to study the violin, but soon abandoned music to devote himself to painting and drawing. After high school he enrolled at the Albertina Academy, where he studied perspective, anatomy and geometric composition, under the teaching of Giacomo Grosso. In 1891 he made his debut as a painter at the Turin Fine Arts Promotion Society, an environment frequented by the Turin aristocracy and upper middle class. In 1895 he leaves Turin to settle with his mother in Rome where he will remain all his life. Here he approaches the new pointillist technique and futurism.
“Dynamism of a dog on a leash”
The surface of the canvas is painted with rapid brushstrokes that create homogeneous areas of colour. In this case it is the silhouettes of the dog’s body and the woman’s dress. The colours used are of a very limited range. It almost looks like a set of images of the dog in motion superimposed on each other.
“The hands of the violinist”
In the canvas the painter followed, for a fraction of a second, the magical movement of his hands on the instrument. The image, which appears as a sequence of slightly offset and superimposed frames, overcomes the static effect and communicates a spectacular impression of speed and movement. The work, as well as Child running on the balcony, shows great interest, nurtured by the artist since the early years of the century, in photography and reveals a careful reflection on the principles of photodynamic.
“Car speed (Speed no. 1)”
Defined in the Manifesto of Futurism as “more beautiful than the Nike of Samothrace”, the car in Balla becomes the emblem of victory over the difficulty of representing speed in painting. The painting “Automobile Speed” is an oil on canvas, which belongs to a series of paintings begun by the artist, between 1913 and 1914. These paintings had as their central theme the scanning of the speed of the car, which Balla studied and depicted in different expressions and formats. The mechanical movement of the car was for Giacomo Balla an essential element to represent speed according to the theoretical concepts of Futurism.