In Pictures: See Inside the Italian Futurist Painter Giacomo Balla’s Apartment, and Works From His Long-Awaited Retrospective in Rome

Jul 29, 2021

Born in Turin in 1871, artist Giacomo Balla went on to become one of the world’s best-known Modernist artists. Associated with the Italian Futurists, he left an indelible mark on the history of painting, uniting elements of fantasy with close studies of light, space, and movement.

Inspired by Eadweard Muybridge’s dynamic photographs, and along with peers Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini, and Mario Sironi, Balla infused his works with the Futurist ethos that pervaded Italy in his day. It was not without controversy: members of the movement, including the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who wrote the Futurist Manifesto, were closely aligned with Italian Fascism. Those ties are what led Balla to break with the group.

Alex Cecchetti’s Come la luna si vede a volte in pieno giorno at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Balla’s work is on view now at the Fondazione MAXXI in Rome, the city in which he lived for more than 30 years. The show, titled “Casa Balla: From the House to the Universe and Back,” also includes a thematic exhibition of works inspired by Balla and his home.

The apartment where the artist and his family lived until his death in 1858, Casa Balla, is a kaleidoscopic space filled with cloud-scapes and mosaics, where each object, utensil, and article of clothing is a work of art unto itself. According to curators Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Domitilla Dardi, the apartment is a true gesamtkunstwerk.

See more images from the exhibition and Balla’s home below.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.

Detail of Balla’s apartment at Fondazione MAXXI. Photo: ©Musacchio, Ianniello & Pasqualini.