Carlo Carrà

Leaving the Theatre, 1910
L’uscita da teatro

Oil on canvas
70.8 x 91 cm

The scene is the exterior of La Scala, Milan’s famous opera house, as the audience spills out onto the street at the end of a performance. In the background, two horse-drawn carriages pull away from the theatre, while in the foreground figures heavily swathed in winter clothes make their way home on foot, as a man shovels away the impacted snow covering the pavement. The work’s slanting horizon tilts our field of vision alarmingly, conveying the destabilising effects of the icy conditions, while shimmering dabs of paint impart a tremendous sense of animation to the image. Writing of his early Futurist years in his autobiography, Carlo Carrà stated: “I am of the opinion that this work [...] is one of the pictures in which I best expressed the conception I then had of painting”. However, in terms of both style and subject matter, there is little obvious ‘modernity’ to be found in Carrà’s image. Like Gino Severini’s The Boulevard, this painting was one of a number of works purchased by the banker Max Rothschild when the Futurists’ first major international exhibition toured to London’s Sackville Gallery in the spring of 1912.

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