Gino Severini

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Gino Severini in 1913 at the opening night of his exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery, London.
Train, 1915
Musaic, 1949

Gino Severini (Cortona, 7 April 188326 February 1966), was an Italian painter and a leading member of the Futurist movement and signed in 1910 the Manifesto of the Futurists together with his fellow Italians: Boccione, Carrà and Balla. Later, Cubism attracted him more.


  • Art is nothing but humanized science.
    • Quoted in: Deric Regin (1968) Culture and the Crowd. p. 86
  • Philosophers and aestheticians may offer elegant and profound definitions of art and beauty, but for the painter they are all summed up in this phrase: To create a harmony
    • Quoted in: Clint Brown (1998) Artist to Artist, p. 32

Letters of the great artists, 1963[edit]

Quotes in Letters of the great artists, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, (translation Daphne Woodward)

  • In our young days, when Modigliani and I first came to Paris, in 1906, nobody was very clear about ideas. But unconsciously, we knew quite a lot of things, of which we became aware later on.
    • p. 247: 1956
  • It was during the first years the we realized the presence of a dualism deep down within us, where another person, whom we ourselves do not know, tends, at the moment of the creative act, to supplant the person we believe ourselves to be and would like to be. It is difficult to bring these two individualities into accord, yet it is upon this accord that the development of a personality largely depends. My first contact with the art of Seurat whom I adopted, once and for all, as my master, did a great deal to help me to express myself in terms of the two simultaneous and often opposed aspirations. This opposition caused me much mental torture, I must admit.
    • p. 247: 1956
  • … since then I have found consolation in Blake; 'Without Contraries is no progression', he says in his Proverbs of Hell. And Baudelaire’s idea that 'Variety is an essential condition of life' seems to me to be in perfect accord with my aspirations and with my intention, as a Futurist painter, to put life in the place occupied by reasoning in the art of the Cubist period.
    • p. 247
  • In the early days the Cubists’ method of grasping an object was to go round and round it; the futurists declared that one had to get inside it. In my opinion the two views can be reconciled in a poetic cognition of the world. But to the very fact that they appealed to the creative depths in the painter by awakening in him hidden forces which were intuitive and vitalizing, the Futurist theories did more than the Cubist principles to open up unexplored and boundless horizons.
    • p. 248
  • The intellectual abstraction of the second period of Cubism was of great importance, however. By its aspirations to the eternal and its "concept of proportion inspired by the Classics" it revived the sense of craftsmanship concept in many painters. And this perfectly coincided with another of my ambitions – which was to make, with paint, an object having the same perfection of craftsmanship that a cabinet-maker would put into a piece of furniture.
    • p. 248
  • It should also be born in mind that the research on ‘movement’ and the dynamic outlook on the world, which were the basis of Futurist theory, in no way required one to paint nothing but speeding cars or ballerinas in action; for a person who is seated, or an inanimate object, though apparently static, could be considered dynamically and suggest dynamic forms. I may mention as an example the 'Portrait of Madame S.' (1912) and the 'Seated Woman' (1914).
    • p. 248
  • Futurism and Cubism are comparable in importance tot the invention of perspective, for which they substituted a new concept op space. All subsequent movements were latent in them or brought about by them... the two movements cannot be regarded as in opposition to each other, even though they started from opposite points; I maintain (an idea approved by Apollinaire and later by Matisse) that they are two extremes of the same sign, tending to coincide at certain points which only the poetic instinct of the painter can discover: poetry being the content and raison d’être of art.
    • p. 248-249

The Life of a Painter: The Autobiography of Gino Severini, 1995[edit]

Severini, Gino. The Life of a Painter: The Autobiography of Gino Severini. Translated by Jennifer Franchina. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. Originally published as La Vita di un Pittore, 1946

  • I was interested in achieving a creative freedom, a style that I could express with Seurat’s... color technique, but shaped to my own needs. Proof that I found it is in my paintings of that period, among which is the famous Pan-Pan a Monico. My preference for Neo-Impressionism dates from those works. At times I tried to suppress it, but it always worked its way back to the surface.
  • Before my encounter with Thomist philosophy through Maritain, I had almost reached the same conclusions through the logical development of my work, intuition and thought, but what a great sense of joy I felt upon discovering, in Maritain, the confirmation of certain thought patterns, certain ways of clarifying these to myself and to others
    • p. 289.

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