Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash by Giacomo Balla
Italian artist, Giacomo Balla, is one of the founders of Futurism. He started off to paint realistic pictures with social implications such as "Bankruptcy", a closed down building scribbled all over. Later, he then became the leading Italian exponent of Neo-Impressionism, which influenced younger Futurist. One of Balla’s paintings that stood out to me the most is Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. In the painting, you see a tiny Dachshund running on its tiny little legs in really fast motion, and its owner walking, which seems to be at a relatively normal pace. The multiplication of body parts in both subjects creates the allusion that they are currently in motion. It’s as if we sped up time, and all we see is a blur in between each frame of movement.
Balla’s inspiration came from the invention of the chronophotographic gun, where the device was able to record frame-by-frame movements onto a single photographic plate. The machine was invented in the 1880s by the scientist, Etienne-Jules Marey, who discovered that cats can land on their feet and other subjects dealing with movement. The influence of this machine inspired Balla to recreate these images, through the use of his canvas and paint.
The technique used to emphasize the rapid motion of an object/person became a later cliché of comic strips and animated cartoons. For comic books we see people/objects being multiplied to create the appearance of running, flapping, or doing a lot of stuff all at once, at a dramatic speed. One famous example in animated cartoons that includes the use of this technique is "Road Runner."