Free «Analysis of Futurist Manifesto of 1909-1910» Essay

Analysis of Futurist Manifesto of 1909-1910


Futurist manifesto began in Italy with the main aim of separating from the contemporary artistic canons and launching into dynamism, violence, provocation, and destructive agenda included in the art. The author admits that the objective of futurist manifesto is to eliminate the aspect of old pictures and paintings that were always admired in museums. He compares them with a cemetery where dead do not even recognize the people buried close to them. He also condemns old moralities and instead advocates for logical reasoning. The central theme behind the futurist manifesto is violence, incendiary, injustice, and cruelty. This is clearly depicted when the author outlines that, “Our hearts know no weariness because they are fed with fire, hatred, and speed” (Boyer & Goldstein, 1987, p.12). The author further states that the launching of the first manifesto showed their displeasure, rebellion, and haughty contempt of the early artistic works, which he terms as full of vulgarity and mediocrity. Filippo Marinetti is considered to be the founder of Futurist movement. The manifesto was regarded to be directly challenging the French avant-garde.

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The Futurist movement arose due to the fact that Italy was viewed as being backward both socially and politically. Filippo Marinetti wanted to awaken Italy to the happenings in the 20th century. At that time, the general population was frightened by the thought of modernism as it (modernism) was termed heretical. Italians were overwhelmed by the invention of an automobile and even the thought of flight. Therefore, Marinetti wanted Italians to know that, “Italy has been too long the great second-hand market” (Boyer & Goldstein, 1987, p.10). His sole agenda was to rejuvenate the future by annihilating the past with embracing technology and change. Futurism totally rejected the past and its traditions. The main argument of the author can be summarized as a calling for modernity and rejuvenation of cultural practices in Italy. The document is a part of pre-World War I era. During this period, the nobility and bourgeoisie were losing control of many societies, including Italian. This created a potential platform for dictators such as fascist Mussolini to take power. In the manifesto, it is evident that Marinetti advocates war.

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Socially, the author is relatively young as he asserts that he is in his thirty’s. Politically, the author seems to support Mussolini. He also seems to be in support of the World War. Culturally, the author of the text is evidently opposed to cultural traditions and advocates modernity. His perspective of vitality and energy is clearly evident as he celebrates youth and industry, speed, machinery, and violence. His rejection of the past shows that the movement is driven by the forces of modernism that were obviously absent in Italy but present in the other nations. The author expresses utter contempt to the old systems and cultural dimensions of his countrymen. This is clearly depicted in his remarks when he says that the aim of futurist movement is, “deliver Italy from archeologist, antiquaries, cicerones, and the cankers of professors” (Boyer & Goldstein, 1987, p.10).The author wishes to totally destroy cultural traditions and replace them with beauty of the modern life.

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The author is addressing the youth in the Italian society. From his remarks, the audience are people aged thirty years and below. The drive for vitality, energy, and violence are all implications the young people. From the text it is evident that futurists were striving to have their paintings go beyond what is visible to the eye and evoke all forms of sensation in the observers. By the use of locomotives and ships, the author displays the industrial might of technology. The automobile experience clearly shows that he supports violent thrill-seeking and immense struggle to realize beauty. He furthers affirms that beauty can never be realized without struggle, which confirms that he is a proponent of war and violence.

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Unlike futurism, romanticism is opposed to the mechanistic view of art, which tends to distort human nature, cage the human spirit, and totally destroy cultural creativity. Romanticism further refutes the idea of rational philosophies as advocated for by Futurist movement. They (romantics) claim that such philosophies only reduce the vibrant human beings to lifeless wheels and soulless thinking. Romantics believe that true understanding and cultural creativity can also be realized through feelings and emotions. On the other hand, futurists believe that cultural creativity is not as value-full as modernity and embracing advance technology in artwork. Futurists’ movement is based on values such as love for danger, scorn for women, love for energy and speed, the glory of war, beauty of struggle, aggressiveness and destruction of historical sites (museums and academies), revolt, courage, and audacity. While romanticism appreciates and adores the inherent human creativity, futurists believe that creativity does not relate to humans and can only be achieved by machines.

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The arguments of author depict the need for struggle as an inherent part of human nature. Historically, for any change to have occurred there must have been some form of violence or struggle. For instance, revolutions that brought change were accompanied by violence. This concept portrays the author’s extremist side. He does not just say that violence is a necessary evil, but rather says that it is purely for greater good. In this view, he ignores the atrocities of war. The author personifies various machines and places: “I stretched out on my machine like a corpse on a brier, but I revived at once on a steering wheel, a guillotine blade that menaced my stomach” (Boyer & Goldstein, 1987, p.8). This clearly shows his perspective and adoration of modernism.

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It is impossible to understand the future by ignoring the past, since the latter provides a better platform for understanding the former. Marinetti’s work is an eye-opener to what is happening in the world today. Technology has been given advantage over cultural creativity, which is now considered backward. We live in an unpredictable world as everyone is driven by forces of automation.

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