Railways in Art at Futurism&co in Rome

Railways in Art at Futurism&Co in Rome


Roberto Marcello Baldessari, Treno in corsa, 1918 ca Olio su tela, 50 × 60 cm
Luigi Russolo, Dinamismo di un treno in corsa nella notte, 1911 ca Olio su cartoncino incollato su tela, 56 × 48 cm

Railways in Art


via Mario de’ Fiori, 68, Rome

Futurism represented one of the most revolutionary artistic movements in history, tirelessly proposing an innovative and dynamic vision of the world as a thunderous invitation and example of epistemological rupture, in which old forms and conceptions were rapidly surpassed by always new ways of seeing and representing reality. Futurism is, and will always be, rightly one of the most important and influential movements of the 20th century, as it sought to emphasize the importance of the future and progress – not simply at the expense of the past – but as an element of cultural, social, and intellectual renewal through the exaltation of energy and power, renewal, technological and industrial progress. This suggests how history and culture themselves are processes in continuous change, in which the past must be constantly reinterpreted and revisited in new ways in a continuous process of innovation and regeneration, in which the past and present combine and transform to break through the mysterious doors of the impossible and build the future.

And if “time and space died yesterday”, in this context, the train is truly a timeless and spaceless symbol that already represented a key element for the futurist imaginary, as it was capable of expressing the properly futurist effects connected to speed, innovation, and simultaneity while embodying at the same time the noise and power of progress and modernity. But even today, in retrospect, it can be affirmed that it represents the true DNA and thought of the futurist movement, since the train has been one of the most important means of transportation in history and in the industrial era, but it is still a means in “continuous movement” and deeply relevant, which has contributed and contributes to the process of connection and modernization of the world. Forever the machine par excellence of modernity, symbol of progress and speed, soundtrack of the future that has torn apart the millennial silence of nature and the countryside.

For example, the train occupies a central position in the paintings and woodcuts of Boccioni’s “Stati d’animo” from 1911, becoming both departure and farewell, state of mind, but also the simultaneous movement of an object in space, as in Russolo’s “Dynamism of a Train in Motion,” also created in the same year, in this case a night train suggested through a decomposition of the image. Baldessari (1916), Corona (1919), and Pippo Rizzo (1929) are all present in the exhibition, each with a specific and unique dynamic rendering of the train. Baldessari, for example, uses Boccioni’s force lines to suggest the train’s movement, while Corona fixes the train’s shape multiple times, overlapping and suggesting the scanning of movement. Finally, Pippo Rizzo adds the line of cars in a long curve to emphasize speed. Depero focuses on the “futuristic” meaning of the train as a strong symbol of modernity, showing us how the train is the paradigm of the future and modern city and also surprises with the plastic drawing of the “Train born from the sun.” Giulio D’Anna uses the train to cross Sicily and offer us dreamlike visions made of Mediterranean light and colors. Carlo Carrà’s vision is singular, as in his 1913 drawing, the train is not depicted but suggested through a “synthesis of landscape speed from a train.” Similarly, Futurluca (a student of Balla) gives us a multicolored and somewhat abstract view of a train station, where the train is not present, but the whirlwind of shapes and colors still suggests its dynamic presence. To conclude this overview of the most representative artists of the exhibition (but there are still other interesting ones, including Conti, Ciacelli, Erba, and Sironi), it is important to mention the complex and almost futurist-surreal “collage of urban landscape” by Vinicio Paladini, in which, between Futurism and Constructivism, the train dialogues at a distance with a car in a bare but floral landscape.

Giulio D’Anna, dettaglio, Dinamismo di un treno, 1928 ca Olio su cartone, 28,5 × 38,5 cm
Pippo Rizzo, Treno in corsa, 1939 ca Tempera su tela, 63,5 × 54 cm
Fortunato Depero, I bevitori e la locomotiva, 1925 Olio su tela, 62 × 50 cm
Giulio D’Anna, Velocità simultanee di treno + aereo, 1934-35 Olio su tela riportato su masonite, 102 × 128 c

“Railways in art” aims to explore the profound relationship between Futurism and trains, presenting a series of exemplary works that highlight the effects of Futurism specifically related to speed – and beyond. The exhibition aims to stimulate reflection on the relationship between technology, society, art, and progress, proposing an innovative and dynamic vision of the world through the speed and power of the train as a symbol of the future and modernity, but also as the very essence of modern life, now more than ever characterized by rapidity and acceleration of time.

Through the exhibition “Futurism and Trains”, the Futurism&co gallery pays tribute once again to this timeless and revolutionary movement, exploring its main themes and its relationship with the world of industry and progress. The exhibition represents a unique opportunity to deepen one’s knowledge of Futurism and to reflect once again on its relevance and significance in the contemporary world.

Railways in Art


via Mario de’ Fiori, 68, Rome

From 15 April until 30 September 2023

Exhibition text by Alice Zucca

Media Contact:

communication [at] alicezucca.art