the painter was born on February 11th 1881
in Quargnento, and he died in 1966.
In the first three decades of the century the works of Carrà reflect
fundamental artistic development, from futurism to metaphysical
paintings, to the “20th century” and the mural paintings of the
‘thirties. When he was twelve he was apprenticed to the local decorator,
and continued to earn a living as a plasterer and decorator even after
he moved to Milan in 1895. In 1899-1900 he went to Paris to decorate the
pavilions for the Exposition universelle, then lived for six months
among the anarchists in exile in London studying the works of Karl Marx
and Michail Bakunin.
From 1904-05 he followed a course of applied art at evening classes in
Milan. In 1906 he enrolled at the Brera Academy, where he studied under Cesare Tallone, with Arnoldo Bonzagni and Romolo Romani. In 1908, while
working on the preparation of the Artistic Family Exhibitions, he became
acquainted with Boccioni and Russolo. Together with Severini and Balla
they signed the Martinetti Futurist Painters Manifesto. The same year Carrà started to work on the “Funeral of the anarchist Galli” (Funerali
dell’anarchico Galli). It was the pointillist technique of Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo that inspired him to deal with this political theme.
Following a journey to Paris in 1911, Carrà restyled the canvas to
assimilate the fragmentation typical of cubism. The final version was
shown in February 1912 at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune futurist exhibition.
The first World War
Due to the growing rivalry with Boccioni and the differences of opinion
with Marinetti, Carrà separated from the Milan group and started to work
with Ardegno Soffici and Giovanni Papini on the “Lacerba” futurist
magazine in Florence from 1913-15. In 1914 he returned to Paris to
conclude a contract with the art gallery manager Daniel Henry Kahnweiler
when the first world war broke out. In 1915 he supported the
interventionist movement with War-painting, a volume of free speech that
was intended as a reply to Boccioni’s Futurist painting-sculpture of
During the war years Carrà developed a style that was consciously naive
or “graceless”, inspired by the plastic solidity of the Tuscan trecentists and by Henri Rousseau. He declared his ideas regarding
artistic tactile values in his writings “Speaking of Giotto” (Parlata su
Giotto) and “Paolo Uccello, constructor “ (Paolo Uccello costruttore)
published by “La voce” in 1916.
Called up for military service in Ferrara in 1917, he became acquainted
with de Chirico and Savino, founding with them the “school” of
metaphysical painting. Internal decor painted by Carrà from 1917 to 1919
portrays the disquieting iconography which is typical of the
metaphysical, but the atmosphere of his images is very different to the
widespread irony and nihilism of de Chirico.
Carrà made every effort to render solidity to the emphatic
three-dimensionality of the objects, re-affirming his faith in an order
below. In articles such as the renewal of Italian painting, published by
the Roman magazine “Valori plastici” he advocated a return to the
Italian traditional pictorial values . In 1921 he became an art critic
for the daily newspaper “L’Ambrosiano”, an influential position which he
held for seventeen years.
The stylistic uncertainty of Carrà was only solved in 1921 with “The
pine-tree by the sea” ( Il pino sul mare). Wilhelm Worringer dedicated
an important essay to the painting in the Zurich magazine “Wissen und Leben” in 1925, sustaining that Carrà had reached a new and harmonious
equilibrium between the artist and the subject. The painting was part of
a series of works that reflected the “magic realism” atmosphere of the
“twentieth century”, and Carrà took part at these exhibitions. As from
1926 he started to spend the summer at Forte dei Marmi on the Tuscany
coast where he painted seascapes with evocative brush strokes and
uniform planes inspired by the return to the Lombardy naturalists of the
A new style
This style remained characteristic of his painting for the rest of his
life, together with the principle according to which figurative forms
and colours are subordinated to an underlying architectonic order. In
1933 Carrà signed the mural painting manifesto of Sironi and painted
frescoes (which were later destroyed) for the Milan Triennial exhibition
of 1933, and for the Law Courts in 1938.
In 1941 he was nominated painting professor for the Brera Academy. In
the after-war years Carrà gradually changed the landscapes and seascapes
of Forte dei Marmi toning down the surfaces, with less compact brushwork
and an accentuated brightness. In 1962, four years before his death an
anthological exhibition of his works was arranged at the Palazzo Reale
Artinvest2000, International Arts Portal
Any Site contents reproduction, even partial, is strictly prohibited, unless
preventively authorized. Any illicit one will be pursued according to the
relevant laws. Optimized for 1024x768 or higher resolution.