This chapter examines how, by presenting an image of the leader imbued with mythical culture, Margherita Sarfatti attempted to define the notions of the state, the leader and his relationship with the people. Sarfatti presented a variety of descriptions of Mussolini, which were intended to locate his image both in the popular imagination and in the notion of race and lineage which the Duce was meant to encapsulate. Sarfatti's contribution to the presentation of Mussolini as a myth was born from her perceived need to construct his image as that of a charismatic leader. The image of Mussolini as Homo Romanus was elaborated within a multiple discourse. One distinctive quality that Sarfatti uses to indicate Mussolini's capacity as a leader able to unite the Italian people across class divisions is that of the 'aristocratico plebeo'.
The equestrian statue of the Duce at the Littoriale Stadium in Bologna
The history of Giuseppe Graziosi's monumental statue will show the extent to which portraits of the Duce became invested with the halo attributed to Benito Mussolini himself. Graziosi explored traditional perspective, and, as far as sculpture is concerned, he went back to the late sixteenth century as well as to earlier sculptors such as Jacopo della Quercia. The Il Resto del Carlino was complemented by a photograph of the equestrian statue in place at the Littoriale stadium, which both reminded the Bolognese people of the events of the day. With reference to the image of Mussolini, Laura Malvano maintains that while mass culture was suited to spread the cult of the Duce, high culture painting and sculpture was used to convey metaphors of Italianness.
In 1909, the Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's Founding Manifesto of Futurism was published on the front page of Le Figaro. Between 1909 and 1912, the Futurists published works celebrating speed and danger, glorifying war and technology, and advocating political and artistic revolution. In Europe, this avant-garde movement was active in the field of painting and sculpture, theatre, photography and politics. This book reassesses the activities and legacies of Futurism. It looks at Futurist manifestos by linking techniques of promotion with practices in commercial advertising, and exploring the question of how Futurist manifestos address notions of genius and gender. The book also reconstructs the historical, cultural and ideological background of Marinetti's Manifesto del tattilismo. Zurich Dadaists adopted cultural stances heavily indebted to the terms of critical engagement and cultural visibility initiated within the Futurist circle. The book analyses avant-garde's examination of its internal strategies of identity and canonization, and the importance of Futurism for the Pierre Albert-Birot. It charts the details of the argument on simultaneity between Umberto Boccioni and Robert Delaunay, and analyses the critical readings of Fernand Léger's La noce. The dialogue between Occultism and Futurism is explored by discussing the theme of night in the works of the Florentine Futurists. In La cucina futurista, food is separated from its nutritional function, and the act of eating is related to notions of creativity and identity. The book presents unique examples of innovative expressivity in Italian Futurists' free-word poems, and examines poetry celebrating the triumph of modern aviation.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on Futurist manifestos and links Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's techniques of self and group promotion in his Manifestos with practices in the expanding realm of commercial advertising. It explores Futurism's complex relationship with Dada and some of the dialogues and conflicts within Futurism. The book examines the reasons why Wyndham Lewis and his colleagues, who had enthusiastically embraced Futurism in 1913, rejected it in early 1914, questioning its revolutionary credentials and its failure to integrate avant-garde abstraction. It considers a series of unique examples of innovative expressivity in Italian Futurists' free-word poems and dipinti paroliberi. The book also explores cinema's contribution as a metamedium to an understanding of the interconnections between old and new art forms, in order to create a common language suitable to the new times.