The Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash is an oil painting on canvas created in 1912 by Italian artist Giacomo Balla. The artwork is an example of a Futurist painting. The dynamism is achieved by the overlapping of forms.
What is Depicted in “Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash”?
Giacomo Balla depicts a common scene witnessed in the street: a lady walking a dachshund on a leash on a crowded road. The style of the composition is photographic. The artist isolates a fragment of the everyday scene, concentrating on the lady’s legs and the fast walk of the animal.
In the upper right-hand corner of the work, one can identify the feet and lady’s skirt, while the dachshund is represented in the lower left corner. The composition follows a diagonal line, which increases the idea of dynamism. The swinging leash is also represented in four different positions, to represent its motion.
Rapid movement is achieved through blurred strokes and the multiplication and decomposition of parts. The surface of the canvas is painted with rapid brush strokes, with a limited range of colors in shades of white, black, and grey. The effect is almost monochrome.
Giacomo Balla exhibited Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash for the first time in the Galerie Der Sturm’s Autumn Salon in Berlin in 1913. It was sold in 1938 to Anson Conger Goodyear and remained in the possession of his son George F. Goodyear until 1984. Since 1984, the painting has been part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Collection in Buffalo, New York.
Artwork Analysis of Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash
The Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash is an attempt to pictorially render the dynamism of an everyday scene. The representation of movement was among the main interests of Futurist research as it symbolized modernity.
In addition, the theory of the fourth dimension was also beginning to be explored in those years. Artists were questioning how to convey the component of time in their art. It was relevant for painters to find a way to communicate a dynamic and changing reality, also temporally.
The inventions that most influenced Giacomo Balla’s research in Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash were Étienne-Jules Marey’s chronophotography and the Cubism art movement. In the painting, Balla presented the concept of movement by simultaneously showing numerous aspects of a moving object. He painted the different parts of the body of the lady and animal by breaking down their motion into a series of planes. The emphasis of Futurists on dynamism and speed was a metaphor for the modern era.
Giacomo Balla executed other paintings in which the theme of movement is treated similarly: Girl Running on a Balcony and The Hand of the Violinist, both from 1912.