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Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916)
Umberto Boccioni was an Italian painter and sculptor and a member of the futurist movement. His 1913 futurist bronze sculpture, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, is reproduced on the Italian 0.20 Euro coin.
Dynamism of a Speeding Horse
Euro coin
Noises of the Street
City Rises
Soccer Player
Muscular Dynamism


Antigraceful, 1913, cast 195051
Bronze; H. 23, W. 20-1/2, D. 20 in. (58.4 x 52.1 x 50.8 cm)

One of Umberto Boccioni's favored subjects was his mother, Cecilia Forlani Boccioni. From photographs and from Boccioni's own renderings of 1906 to 1915, she appears to have been a large matronly woman with a broad round face, thick knobby fingers, and elegantly upswept gray hair. Boccioni featured her in at least forty-five paintings, drawings, etchings, and sculptures, often producing a series of studies based on a single pose.
The title of his sculpture, "Antigraceful," refers to Boccioni's rejection of traditional artistic values. As he wrote in his book "Pittura, scultura futuriste" (1914): "We must smash, demolish, and destroy our traditional harmony, which makes us fall into a gracefulness created by timid and sentimental cubs. We disown the past because we want to forget, and in art to forget means to be renewed." Using Cubist distortions and fragmentation, Boccioni attempted to undermine the accepted concepts of proportion, harmony, and beauty. He also attached elements from the surrounding environment to this portrait (such as the building rising from the mother's head) in a Futurist union of figure and space.

Boccioni began working in three dimensions in Paris about March 1912, when he wrote to a friend: "These days I am obsessed by sculpture! I believe I have glimpsed a complete renovation of that mummified art." A month later, in Milan, he published the "Technical Manifesto of Sculpture," and by June 1913 he had produced a significant body of eleven plaster sculptures that were exhibited at Galerie La Botie in Paris. Included in that exhibition was "Antigraceful," which may have been influenced by Pablo Picasso's bronze "Head of a Woman" of 1909. Guillaume Apollinaire, an admirer of Boccioni's sculpture, admonished him to have his plasters cast in bronze.
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