HUMAN FORMS IN MOVEMENT
Sculpted in 1913, final exhibition in 1914, Galleria Gonelli, Florence, destroyed in 1927 in Acquabella, Milan (?).
Hidden in the photos?
Human Forms in Movement is the most intriguing and elusive of all Boccioni's sculptures. There are no known photographs of it, and perusing all the exhibition catalogues of Boccioni's works of art makes it clear that Human Forms in Movement was only exhibited twice; first in Galleria Futurista in Rome, December 1913, and again in Galleria Gonnelli in Florence, March 1914 (1, encircled in red in the respective exhibition catalogues).
The possibility that the title Human Forms in Movement is a misprint, or used instead of any of the established titles of Boccioni's other striding sculptures, can be ruled out. Already at the Paris exhibition in June 1913, Boccioni had thought up definitive titles for all his sculptures. We know this from the printed catalogue.
Nevertheless, Human Forms in Movement was not mentioned again, and it was most likely destroyed together with a lot of Boccioni's other sculptures at the Acquabella dump in Milan in 1927.
It is however possible that this sculpture is partly visible in an unfinished state in several photographs taken in Boccioni’s studio in April-May 1913 (2, red arrow). It is certainly plausible that Boccioni had started sculpting Human Forms in Movement but did not have time to finish it in time for the Paris exhibition at Galerie La Boëtie starting in June – since it does not appear in the catalogue. However, he may have managed to finish it in time for the Rome exhibition in December. Furthermore, the title of the work would also suggest that it is a striding form, and thus quite large in keeping with the other striding sculptures.
Most of Boccioni's sculptures started out as preparatory sketches, and we believe the same must have been the case here. There are some 20 sketches on the theme of Human Forms in Motion (examples, 3) to give us a very rough idea of what Boccioni sculpted.
[Published April 2020]