Carra, Carlo

Carra, Carlo Biography

Italian artist, who was a leader of both futurist and metaphysical painting. Carra studied painting briefly at the Brera academy in Milan but was largely self-taught. In 1909 he met the poet Filippo Marinetti and the artist Umberto Boccioni, who converted him to Futurism, an aesthetic movement that exalted patriotism, modern technology, dynamism, and speed. At first Carra tried to infuse the geometric structure and neutral palette of cubism with a futurist sense of movement. In the army he met Giorgio de Chirico, founder of pittura metafisica ("metaphysical painting") and adopted this new concept. In such artworks as The Enchanted Room (1917), he created an atmosphere of mystery and apprehension through exaggerated Renaissance perspective and ominous light.

In 1918 Carra broke with De Chirico and Metaphysical painting. Throughout the 1920s and '30s, he painted melancholy figurative works based on the monumental realism of the 15th-century Italian painter Masaccio. Through such moody but well-constructed works as Morning by the Sea (1928; Gianni Mattioli Foundation, Milan) and through his many years of teaching at the Milan Academy, he greatly influenced the course of Italian art between World Wars I and II.

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