The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli is a painting by Carlo Carrá from 1910-1911 and was started only a year after the original Futurist Manifesto of 1909 was published. The painting features many of the aspects that the Futurists portrayed in their artwork including a movement away from traditional paintings, dynamic brush strokes, and a sense of speed in the artwork. They wanted to completely change the way that art was viewed and this painting accomplishes that goal. This painting strays away from the collage style of Carrá’s and focuses on a very drastic brush stroke. The palette is subdued yet utilizes more color than some of Carrá’s other paintings. Even though this painting is oil on canvas and does stray away from the collage style, The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli has distinct shapes created by linear brush strokes that give the painting a circular collage shape. Carrá in The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli shows off the unease of the political system in Italy in the years leading up to the First World War and how the Italians were surrounded by feelings of intense nationalism that led to a Fascist regime after the war.
The title of the painting, The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, suggests that this is a march of people at a funeral, but the unease of the crowd suggests that something has disrupted the funeral and added tension to what was meant to be a peaceful march. The people carry high flags above the crowd which adds to the intense nationalistic views towards Italy in Carrá’s paintings. Carrá was nationalistic for a new Italy though and cities that would be innovative. Christine Poggi notes, “Rather than Venice, Florence, or Rome, the prototypical Futurist city would be Milan, symbol of Italy’s growing industrial strength and cosmopolitanism.” The Futurists did not yearn for the cities that had been celebrated in Italy’s past; instead they were optimistic for the future of Italy. The people in this painting are not distinguished from one another; instead they are all uniform in color and body shape. This suggests that Carrá views the group of people working as a whole instead of individuals making a difference. The painting is very dynamic and the brush strokes and the rhythm of the painting create this dynamic tone. This effect is best described as, “Strident effects of contrasting color, dazzling light, distortions of perspective, and brushwork that fuses figure and ground.” The figures of the paintings fade into the background and only are distinguishable after first viewing of the painting. Carrá is showing that the figures are just as important as their background and environment. They would not exist without their environment. The Futurists would not have existed without the highly nationalistic atmosphere of Italy in the years before the First World War.
The figures in the painting all appear to be moving which is characteristic of Futurist paintings. They fed off of movement and the new technology of the times that allowed humans to move with greater speed. The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli draws on many Futurist themes including speed, nationalism, strength, industrialism, and advancement. Carrá portrays these themes through his dynamic brush stroke and subdued color palette.
Poggi, Christine. Inventing Futurism: The Art and Politics of Artificial Optimism. Princeton
and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009.