Date of Award

2-1-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Departments/Programs

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Joachim Pissaro

Second Advisor

Maria Pelizzari

Academic Program Adviser

Maria Pelizzari

Abstract

This thesis examines Umberto Boccioni’s series the States of Mind (1911) and discusses how these works represent a breakthrough in the artist’s search to find a pictorial expression for concepts that occupied him throughout his career. The States of Mind exists in four complete iterations each comprised of three images: The Farewells, Those Who Go and Those Who Stay.The first set of oil paintings, begun in late summer of 1911, are in the Divisionist style and are in the collection of the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan. A set of charcoal and contè drawings on paper, likely completed in the fall of 1911, show the influence of the Symbolist style are in the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A second series of oil paintings, also in MoMA’s collection, was completed towards the end of 1911. These display an inflection of cubism and were reworked after the artist’s trip to Paris in November in the same year. Finally a series of pen and ink drawings based on the second painted version which were then translated into xylographic prints, or woodcuts, for reproduction in the German magazine Der Sturm. Though the States of Mind has been established as one of the most important works in Boccioni’s oeuvre and among the most significant in the Futurist movement, an in-depth monographic study on the work has never been written. This thesis looks at the States of Mind in the context of a number of key topics: the influence of the artistic movements Divisonism and Symbolism; the impact of Henri Bergson’s philosophies; the significance of the railway station setting; and the intended ordering of the States of Mind’s three panels. Through this study a more nuanced understanding of this seminal work will emerge.

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