[May 25, 2014] A little known artistic movement out of Italy in the early 20th Century gave rise to some of the best known paintings and artistic expression in the modern world. “Italian Futurism” was founded on the dynamic leadership of Italian intellectual Filippo Marinetti who lead it for 35 years.
The study of this movement is important as it began in 1909 with great passion in the arts but ended with its close association to and the destruction of Italian Fascism toward the end of WWII. Looking back, we can see clearly its ties to the socialists’ philosophies that were so prominent in Europe at that time.
Marinetti insisted that the Futurist be modern, young, and a insurgent. He insured the movement was motivated by modernity such as the modern industrial city, machines (like the locomotive and airplane), and speed. The Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan has an well-displayed exhibit on Italian Futurism 1909 – 19441. The art reflected this modernity, as did the actions of its followers and reached for beyond the borders of Italy.
The Italian Futurism movement is a classic study in the how leadership works through great communications, passion, commitment, and adaptability; those things that make a movement and its leaders successful. It is also a study in how a movement dies a complete death when it lacks key traits such as optimism, integrity, and understanding people. Of course, the inability to predict the future and to make sound judgments about who to be associated with also matters.
The Italian Futurism movement made its lasting mark on art and Italy, beginning in the decades before WWII. Today only the great art remains, its leadership failures puts its philosophy in the dustbin of history.
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