Umberto Boccioni

Study for 'Empty and Full Abstracts of the Head', 1912
Studio per ‘Vuoti e pieni astratti di una testa’

Ink, black wash and pencil on paper
68.1 x 48.5 cm

This powerful drawing relates to one of Umberto Boccioni’s lost Futurist sculptures, which explored the relationships between the concave and convex forms of a human face. A ‘portrait’ of sorts, its model was the artist’s mother, Cecilia Forlani, who was photographed in front of this preparatory drawing in Boccioni’s studio in 1913. The majority of Boccioni’s three-dimensional works were destroyed in 1927, although a handful remain, including the iconic Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913). In 2019, digital artists Anders Rådén and Matt Smith used surviving images of Empty and Full Abstracts of a Head as the basis for a highly accurate 3D print of the work, which was displayed as part of an exhibition held at the Estorick Collection.

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