Color, vivacity, movement. It is a traditional pictorial space which vanishes, shattering, then leaving space for a fluid dynamism which captures the observer with its dizzying rapidity. Created in 1912 during a stay in Düsseldorf and, today, at the GAM of Milan, part of the Grassi Collection, the painting represents a cornerstone in the study of Giacomo Balla of the movement of the human body. This oil on canvas, purchased in 1950 by the collector Carlo Grassi directly from the painter, shows the movement of Balla’s daughter, Luce, eight years old, running along the balcony of the Master’s home in Rome. In occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the artist, this work takes on special meaning. In the painting, the observer sees a figure repeated infinitely - a movement developing from left to right. At the bottom, in a more evident form, are the boots of the girl, reproduced in a more regular rhythmic way. At the top, with greater fatigue, the hair of the young protagonist, with a braid falling away towards the bottom of the painting. While in the central section of the canvas, painted blue, it is possible to grasp, most probably, the spatial dislocation towards the right of her dress, the grid of vertical lines, which remains relatively secondary in respect to the image of the child, alludes to the railing of the balcony. Luce’s run is dismantled by Giacomo Balla and represented by a series of sequential images. The image is not dissimilar to a film of the same era. Yet, the influence upon and fascination of Balla by and for the chronophotography of Etienne Jules Marey are also quite notable. The framing of the piece also suggests photographic work with the side-cuts of the image suggesting a continuity beyond the painting. But Bambina che Corre sul Balcone is also the transposition, in a futurist key, of the lesson that the Master had in Düsseldorf - liberty and autonomy of colour. It is colour, saturated and vivacious, which confers, with its placement, vitality to the running girl. Balla created blocks of colour that, placed together, offer an image with continuity, while decomposing, at the same time, offering a vision of forms in movement.
Samantha De Martin - © 2021 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Milano