Modernism and Fascism: The Future was Fascist

slide 7Movements such as Italian Futurism, whose founder, Filippo Tomasso Marinetti, and author of the Futurist Manifesto, founded the Futurist Political Party, only to merge it with the Italian Fascist Party of Benito Mussolini?

Futurism was a movement that emphasised speed, technology, youth, and violence. Many Italian Futurists supported Fascism in the hope of modernizing a country divided between the industrialising north and the rural, archaic South. Like the Fascists, the Futurists were Italian nationalists, radicals, admirers of violence, and were opposed to parliamentary democracy.

 

Although Futurism became identified with Fascism, it did have leftist and anti-Fascist supporters, who opposed Marinetti’s artistic and political direction of the movement. Unfortunately, however, the anti-Fascist voices in Futurism were silenced with the annexation of Abyssinia and the Italo-German Pact of Steel in 1939

 

Marinetti made numerous moves to ingratiate himself with the regime, becoming less radical and avant-garde with each. He even sought to make Futurism the official state art of Fascist Italy, but failed to do so. Mussolini was personally uninterested in art, HOWEVER, he chose to give patronage to numerous styles and movements in order to keep artists loyal to the regime. Mussolini recognised the value that contemporary, modern producers of art had to the fascist regime, and his patronage of movements such as Futurism is indicative of the manner in which Totalitarianism was and still is capable of parasitizing art and literature in order to grow.

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