Fillia (Luigi Colombo), Spiritualità dell'aviatore (1929)

Enrico Prampolini, Analogie cosmiche (apparizione cosmica) (1930)


These paintings are emblematic of the 'idealistic' strand of Futurist aeropainting aesthetics. In Fillia's Spiritualità dell'aviatore the figure of the aviator, which recurs in Futurist aeropaintings, is represented through a composition of shapes and colours loosely evoking a human figure exiting an aircraft. Prampolini's Analogie cosmiche, presented at the 1st Quadrennial in 1931, portrays the most typifying forms of the female body (breasts and womb) in an almost completely abstract way, detached from figurative aesthetics, and suspended in a mythical space existing only as lines, forms and colours.

Main Principles

  1. A New Theorization of the Relationship Between Subjectivity and Objectivity

  2. The Rationalization of Aesthetics: the Straight Line


Prampolini and Fillia were among the main exponents of the Aeropainting strand of 'cosmic idealism', as Prampolini defined it, which these works exemplify. Aeropainting was the main expression of the aesthetics theorised by Marinetti and developed by the so called 'Second Futurism', based on the modern experience of flying and the new possibilities and perspectives it opened for humans, thereby calling into question the relationship between subjectivity and objectivity as distinct sphere of the human expression. In this respect, here aeropainting is developed not as a perspective from the sky on the world below, but as a metaphysical elan vital towards the cosmos and its mysteries. The physical aerial perspective of the works of artists like Tato, Gerardo Dottori and Tullio Crali finds a counterpart in a human perspective on the universe, the infinite and the unknown: an 'aerial sensibility'. Following Marinetti's call for a 'new plastic extra-terrestrial spirituality', in the early 1930s Prampolini, together with other artists such as Fillia, Nicolaj Diulgheroff and Mino Rosso, devised a new aesthetic and stylistic language rooted in the depiction (which feels more like an 'evocation') of an eternal and atemporal universe made of pure forms and colours, like the one we see in these paintings, which are evocative 'assemblages' of lines, shapes and colours.

In these artworks, figurative aims are relinquished in favour of the experimentation on forms: in Analogie cosmiche, the female body is reduced to almost abstract forms, to such an extent that it is barely recognisable. Yet, this way the artist manages to distil the essence of his object, found in its most distinctive traits. In Spiritualità dell'aviatore, the aviator is more evoked than delineated, and the real object of the painting is illustrated by the title, in the word 'spirituality', central to the aesthetics of cosmic idealism, as it describes the other-worldly and almost mystical afflatus of this form of art. This notion was so important to Aeropainting aesthethics, especially in Fillia's work, that he used it twice in his theoretical writings defining the principles of Aeropainting: Spiritualità aerea (Oggi e domani, 4 November 1930) and Spiritualità futurista (Oggi e domani, 26 October 1931). Artists thus seek to bridge the gaps between concrete and abstract reality, between the human subject and the cosmos as universal experience, through 'synthesis' and 'analogies' in which forms acquire symbolic meanings, becoming archetypical symbols of the human effort towards the cognitive conquest of the cosmic space. These experimentations led, in the case of Prampolini, to the next stage of his creative path: polimateric art (see Metamorfosi cosmica).


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Laura Pennacchietti