Carlo Carrà

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Carlo Carrà, 1912

Carlo Carrà (February 11, 1881April 13, 1966) was a leading artist in Italian Futurism. In addition to his many paintings, he wrote a number of articles concerning art and Futurism.


photo in 1912: from left to right the Italian Futurist artists: Russolo, Carlo Carrà, Marinetti, Boccioni and Severini - in front of 'Le Figaro', in Paris


  • Constructions of a-rhythmical forms, the clash between concrete and abstract forms.. ..The acute angle is passionate and dynamic, expressing will and a penetrating force.
    • Quote in: Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio Carrà, March 1913, as quoted in Futurism, Didier Ottinger (ed.), 2008, p. 146
  • The Cubists, to be objective, restrict themselves to considering things by turning around them, to produce their geometric writing. So they remain at a stage of intelligence which sees everything and feels nothing, which brings everything to a standstill in order to describe everything. We Futurists are trying, on the contrary, with the power of intuition, to place ourselves at the very center of things, in such a way that our ego forms with their own uniqueness a single complex. We thus give plastic planes a plastic expansion in space, obtaining this feeling of something in perpetual motion which is peculiar to everything living.
    • In: Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio Carrà, March 1913, as quoted in Futurism, Didier Ottinger (ed.), 2008, p. 146
  • We insist that our concept of perspective is the total antitheses of all static perspective. It is dynamic and chaotic in application, producing in the mind of the observer a veritable mass of plastic emotions.
    • In: 'Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio', Carrà, March 1913
    • this quote of Carrá attacks one of the core principles of Cubism
  • [paintings as] the plastic equivalent of the sounds, noises and smells found in theaters, music-halls, cinemas, brothels, railways station, ports.
    • In: 'Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio', Carrà, March 1913
  • Reds, rrrrreds, the rrrrreddest rrrrreds that shouuuuuuut.
    • In: 'Piani plastici come espanzione sferica nello spazio', Carrà, March 1913
  • When we talk of architecture, people usually think of something static; this is wrong. What we are thinking of is an architecture similar to the dynamic and musical architecture achieved by the Futurist musician Pratella. Architecture is found in the movement of colours, of smoke from a chimney and in metallic structures, when they are expressed in states of mind which are violent and chaotic.
    • Quote in: The Painting of Sounds, Noises and Smells Carlo Carrà, (1913); as cited & translated in: Mary Ann Caws (2001) Manifesto: A Century of Isms. p. 203
  • This bubbling and whirling of forms and lights, composed of sounds, noises, and smells has been partly achieved by me in my 'Anarchical funeral' [the painting Carra painted ca 1910-1911, ed.].. Umberto Boccioni in his 'States of Minds' and 'Forces of a Street' [both paintings Boccioni painted in 1911], by Russolo in 'Rebellion' (1911) and Severini in 'Pan-Pan [the first version, Severini painted in 1909-1911], paintings which were violently discussed at our first Paris exhibition in 1912.
    • Quote in La Pittura dei suoni, rumori, odori Carrà, 11 Aug 1913, as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 142
  • ..that dizzy seething of forms and acoustic lights, rowdy and smelly [visible in the paintings at the Futurist exhibition, February 1912 in Paris].. obtain this total painting which calls for the active cooperation of all the senses: painting of the plastic mood of the universal, you have to paint the way drunkards sing and vomit, sounds, noises and smells.
    • Quote in The painting of Sounds, Noises and Smells Carrà, in 'Lacerba' vol. 1. no. 17, 1,Florence, 1 September 1913, pp. 186-187
  • We [The Futurists] stand for a use of colour free from the imitation of objects and things as coloured objects. We stand for an aerial vision in which the material of colour is expressed in all of the manifold possibilities our subjectivity can create.
    • Carlo Carrà's art statement on Futurism in 1913, as quoted in Abstract Art Anna Moszynska, Thames and Hudson 1990, p. 26
  • Boccioni and I were swiftly persuaded that with this show in Paris we were staking our all; for a flop would have meant kissing our fine aspirations goodbye. This is why we decided to go to Paris, to see what the art situation there was like.
    • Quote in: Éclat de choses ordinaries Carrà, (1913), as quoted in Futurism, Didier Ottinger (ed.), 2008, p. 27
  • He (Picasso, ed.) is almost one of us [the Futurists].
    • In: Carlo Carra – Ardengo Soffici: Lettere 1913 – 1929, Feltrinelli, Milan, 1983, p. 246



La mia Vita (1945), Carlo Carrà; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger (2008)


Quote from: La mia Vita Carlo Carrà - published for the first time in 1945; as quoted in Futurism, ed. Didier Ottinger (2208), Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008

  • Boccioni, Russolo and I all met in the Porta Vittoria café [in Milan, Italy], close to where we all lived, and we enthusiastically outlined a draft of our appeal [the Manifesto of Futurist Painters, late February, 1910]. The final version was somewhat laborious; we worked on it all day, all three of us and finished it that evening with Marinetti and the help of Decio Cinti, the group's secretary.
    • p. 23 - the painters Bonzagni and Romani signed this famous Manifesto version too, but withdraw soon; they were replaced by Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini
  • The idea for this picture came to me one winter's night as I was leaving La Scala. In the foreground there is a snow sweeper with a few couples, men in top hats and elegant ladies. I think that this canvas, which is totally unknown in Italy, is one of the paintings where I best represented the concept that I had the time about my art.
    • p. 154 - Carrà is referring in this quote to his painting 'Uscita dal teatro' ('Leaving the theater'), he made in 1909
  • I was walking along the Boulevard des Italiens [in February 1912, during a group exhibition of Futurist painters in Paris] when, as I passed in front of a newspaper stand, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing on the front page of the Journal the reproduction of my picture 'The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli'.
    • p. 29 - In his quote Carrà is referring to his painting 'The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli', he painted ca 1910/11
  • Stumbling into the midst of anarchists, barely 18 years old, I too started to dream of 'inevitable changes, inhuman society, free love', etc.
    • p. 140
  • I have said that Marinetti was.. ..exceptionally gifted, and I should add that I never saw him twiddling his thumbs even for ten minutes.. ..beside his desk he often kept piles of books in which he would write dedications.. ..invariably with the purpose of spreading the word about Futurism.
    • p. unknown
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