Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash

7:00 AM

Giacomo Balla, Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912

"Everything is in movement, everything rushes forward, everything is in constant swift change."

While Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash strays from the classic Futurist image of cars, trains or machinery, I think it is one of the strongest works from the school. It does not show the patriotism and glory of war that late works show, but does show "celebration of...speed and city life" (Little 108). Futurists rejected the old and wanted to "make way doe everything new and vital" (Little 109). Dogs live relatively short lives compared to humans, so the Dog on a Leash is rushing through his life as seen by the motion of the brush strokes. Maybe this is a message to Italy that they must move on from their past and evolve, or to young boys that they must grow up from their lives as puppies and become men while fighting in WWI. 

I find Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash interesting because it focuses so much on motion. Other works like The City Rises and Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tarbin are busy works. Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash appears basic. It lacks bright colors and only has two subjects. Its not at all basic though. The movement of the walker and the dog is extremely detailed. The painting resembles The Cellist, an early piece of Futurist photography. Balla uses paint to look like a photo that used a slow shutter speed. The painting only shows their outlines, which allows viewers to focus less on the subject and more on the movement. The detailed brush strokes allow us to focus on the movement of the tiny legs of the dog, the wagging tail, and walkers feet, and the movement of the leash. While they are the only two in the painting, it feels like they are rushing through a crowded street in the city. Maybe Balla isolated these two subjects on the crowded street and was able to create the feel of the city without painting the city. Balla uses horizontal and diagonal brush strokes to show the dog's movement down the grey sidewalk. Where are they rushing to? I think they are rushing into the future that Balla promoted so intently. They are leaving the Italian Renaissance behind and hopping feet first into a life of planes, trains, and automobiles. 

You Might Also Like