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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment


Gino Severini


Date : 1913
Technique : oil on canvas
Size: 64 x 49 cm
Location : Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy
Photo credit : © Alinari archives

View this work in the Urban transportation exhibition

The work

This 1913 painting owes its name to the operating company, the Société du Chemin de Fer Métropolitain du Nord-Sud, which had opened its first Metro line two years previously. The subject of the painting is the Montmartre-Montparnasse line which linked the two great artists' districts of pre-war Paris. Inspired by the technique of collage with a deliberately fragmented construction, the painting was sold a few years later to help finance a monument to Apollinaire, who had been a friend of the painter.

The artist

Born in 1883, Severini was a representative of the Italian Futurist movement. Starting off as a Neo-Impressionist, he went to Paris in 1906 where he was attracted by the avant-garde movement. A friend of Picasso and Apollinaire, he sought new esthetic forms by deconstructing and reconstructing the human form. In 1910, along with his compatriots Boccioni and Marinetti, he signed the Futurist manifesto, a veritable declaration of love for all things modern. After the First World War, during which he was called up, Severini returned to a more classical style, completing in particular numerous murals in France, Italy and Switzerland. He died in Paris in 1966.