This painting by the Italian artist Carlo Carrá (1881 – 1966) is one of the emblematic examples of the current of futurist art that it occurred at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in Italian lands. In fact, the great referents of Futurism were all Italian artists. A list that includes, in addition to Carrá himself, others such as Gino Severini (1883 – 1966), Luigi Russolo (1886 – 1947), Umberto Boccioni (1882 – 1916), Giacomo Balla (1871 – 1958) or Fortunato Depero (1892 – 1960).
The Red Knight of Carrá
But curiously, this avant-garde pictorial current did not originate in painting, but in poetry, since the true promoter of this type of art was the poetFilippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 – 1944). Marinetti in 1909, while in Paris, cradle of the great artistic avant-gardes of the early 20th century, launched a manifesto in which he called for total renewal of art and culture in general. Since he was convinced that it was necessary to create a new artistic conception and of life appropriate to the new signs of the times, since he considered that the man of the 20th century had entered the civilization of machines.
In his poetic works, this led him to the totally free use of words, to the point of turning them into “visual words” withextravagant performances, in which sound and music were very important. But not the melody as it had been important before, but the noise was also key.
That led Carlo Carrá to write in 1913, the same year he painted his paintingThe Red Knight, that:
To this we had to add the historical moment in which Futurism developed, a time when machines and industrialization were advancing the world at great speed. That dizzying rhythm based on the noise of engines, sometimes thunderous, was ex alted by the futurist painters and sculptors, who had total and absolute confidence in machines and in emerging technology. Hence, movement, dynamism, became one of the fundamental principles of his art. And in this sense, this work by Carrá is exemplary, since in it everything is trying to capture the gallop of the horse and the rider at full speed. All the lines of force in the painting are decomposed, as well as the shapes of bodies and objects to represent this rapid movement.