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Umberto Boccioni

/Works and biography

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Dynamism of a Cyclist (Dinamismo di un ciclista), 1913
Oil on canvas, 70 x 95 cm
Gianni Mattioli Collection
Long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice


This beautiful painting, with its silvery lights and its vortex of cones and fin-like forms, is among Umberto Boccioni’s most accomplished studies of dynamic movement. Although the bicycle was first invented in 1818, it was not until the 1890s that the modern bicycle, with its diamond-patterned frame, roller-chain drive and pneumatic tires, had become established. The racing cyclist can be taken as a characteristic Futurist symbol of dynamic modern life—man moving swiftly through time and space by the propulsion of his legs enhanced by modern technology. This subject highlights the dynamic fusion of cycle, figure (bent double over his handlebars with his backside in the air), and space in single plastic form.
Boccioni made innumerable preparatory drawings for the Dynamism of a Cyclist, in which a network of arching lines, dominate the diagrammatic construction of the unified form—lines which in the painting are for the most part, but not always, resolved into curving planes animated by the choppy, still Divisionist brushwork with which Boccioni gave such surface vitality to all of his mature work.

credits: Hangar Design Group