Balla, trained as a musician, was a self-taught artist. His early work derived from the Impressionists, especially Seurat’s Pointillism. Around 1909 he started painting in a new style, with concerns to depict motion and speed in the new Futurist style, and in 1912 he joined the Futurists. As a teacher he taught Boccioni and Severini – both to become notable Futurist artists. Dynamism of a Dog, along with Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase of the same year, stand out as radical developments of the leading avant garde Cubist movement, and both clearly show the influence of Etiene-Jules Marey’s chrono-photography of the 1870s
Why does this inspire?
Because it was the first example of applied chrono-photography that I came across – researching the picture as a student, I then discovered Marey and Muybridge, Aaron Scharf’s brilliant Art and Photography (1968), and got seriously interested in technology and art.. The close relationship between the medium and the message, explained for me in McLuhan’s early books The Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media, became a lifelong passion.