Futurism was the Italian movement most controversially remembered for allying with Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. The Futurist art movement was much more inclusive and borrowed from other schools such as Cubism and Impressionism to convey the speed of technological advancement that was a key part of their manifesto.
This exhibition at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art displays a breadth of work by Gerardo Dottori, a Futurist painter, who used many of these techniques to build up a varied portfolio.
His use of angular lines brings an energy to his work, whether it be rays of sunlight reflecting off a tower or the intense flames of a fire in the middle of a city that makes the surrounding buildings glow a foreboding red. His landscapes are impressive and one particularly inspiring view is of jagged mountains towering over the contrasting green rolling fields beneath them.
His attempts to imitate the style of Impressionists are less successful and only on a few occasions do his attempts at Seurat-like pointillism bear fruit. One eye-catching piece is his brightly coloured Flora, which is so at odds with the rest of his paintings it wouldn’t look amiss as a street art tribute to Botticelli’s birth of Venus.
Dottori is best known for his Aeropaintings, where landscapes are portrayed as seen from a plane with the horizon displaying a distinct, if overplayed, curvature. These do not disappoint and the almost surreal distortions to the image and use of bright yet soothing colours gives them a fantastical feel.
Gerardo Dottori may not be known to many, and we must admit we hadn’t heard of him before this exhibition, but the sheer breadth and diversity of his work plus his excellent landscape paintings makes this a show well worth seeing.
Gerardo Dottori: The Futurist View is on at Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, N1 2AN until 7 September. Tickets for adults are £5, concessions £3.50.