The project

FUTURAHMAFrom Futurism to Classicism (1910-1922). Research, Art History and Material Analysis is a three-year research project (2013-2016), financed by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR) within the Futuro in ricerca 2012 program.


The goal of the project is to study painting techniques adopted by Italian painters in the early Twentieth century, with a particular focus on the Futurist, Metaphysical and ‘Ritorno al classico’ movements. The Futurist revolution originates from the intense studies on colour begun by the Divisionists and took place during a critical moment in the history of modern art, when rapid and radical innovations were taking place which impacted artists’ materials. The sudden adoption of industrial materials in the palette contrasted with the desire to retain traditional methods and materials (for example ‘tempera’ paint, adopted during and after World War One).

Project Goals and Motivations

Although much study has been devoted to early-Twentieth-century Italian painting, there are many open questions regarding the techniques adopted by painters. This critical issue is of fundamental importance to understandthe artists’ expressive choices, for an in-depth analysis of the paintings’ conservation problems and for a greater appreciation of the cultural context in which artists workedbetween Futurism and Ritorno al classico.


The project will address specific questions related to changes in technique which occur in the transition between Divisionism and Futurism, the relationship between Manifestos and Futurist painting at the beginning of the 1910s, the connection between Futurist and Cubist painting, the study of theoretical texts and a close examination of paintings from the Metaphysical and Valori Plastici movements. Scientific research within the project will develop new analytical protocols for the study of Twentieth-century paintings, which will establish methods for the identification and chemical-physical analysis of of constituent materials through non-invasive techniques, and the detection of spectral markers indicating degradation.