Umberto Boccioni - The noise of the street enters the house

von Alexandra Tuschka


Can a painting manage to create sounds on the canvas? There are at least only a few who have tried.


The colorful and animated painting "The noise of the street penetrates into the house" by the Italian Boccioni is one of them. A woman has stepped out onto her balcony. She is looking at the marketplace, where men are erecting scaffolding with wooden sticks for the construction of a new house. Exterior and interior merge; the houses lean into the center of the picture and frame the action.

Only the lady in the center of the picture, who as a back figure mediates between the colorful hustle and bustle and us, leans calmly over the balcony ledge and observes the whole. This figure is taken up again on the right and left in two other ladies - these do not correspond in their color scheme, but in their pose - they too have curiously stepped out of their apartments onto the balcony.


Boccioni was a Futurist and wanted his painting to create a new style; one that could represent auditory and visual impressions simultaneously. Simultaneity" was a principle proclaimed by the painter - for the clatter of horses' hooves, the hammering and shouting of workers at the market, the breeze, the dropping of a plate in the next room - all sounds reach the ear simultaneously.


Although the artist would resist this statement, the work shows clear cubist influences through the fragmentation of forms and their interpenetrating arrangement. The work probably also symbolizes the increasing industrialization that affected Boccioni's then hometown of Milan.


Umberto Boccioni - The noise of the street enters the house

Oil on canvas, 1911, 100 x 100.6 cm, Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Germany

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