Again and again over the last 2.5 years at The Long and Short of it All, we've wanted to feature this painting, Giacomo Balla's beautiful Dynamism of A Dog on a Leash (1912). That day has finally come because The Independent has done all the work in a fascinating story which details the novel concept of expressing movement on canvas, something rarely done until this time. Here's an excerpt:
And in the early 20th century, the effect finally made its way onto canvas. The wish to imitate the machine and the mechanised image seduced the would-be modern artist. We find oil paintings doing something that they had never done before – using multiple limbs to indicate bodies in motion. It appears in Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase and in the works of the Italian Futurists. Giacomo Balla's Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash is one of the most striking.
A lady is walking a dog; a widow and her pet. The lady has roughly 15 feet, variably solid and see-through. The dog has eight countable tails, while its legs are lost in flurry of blurry overlays. Four swinging leads go between them. The picture's sense of movement (if that is what it actually is) is created out of stark black forms and weird flowing lacey veils.
Even without these multiplication and motion effects, Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash would be doing something that's novel. There aren't many previous paintings that present us with such an abrupt close-up. Balla takes the kind of subject that Impressionism had specialised in, a street scene with bourgeois promenaders, but he picks out only a single detail, an almost randomly chosen clip, and makes it the focus of the whole picture.
Read all about it at The Independent.
Related: Dachshunds in Art
Have a great Friday!