California Italian Studies
Arte sacra futurista: Fillia Between Conformity and Subversion
- Author(s): Baranello, Adriana M.
- et al.
Futurism and religion are not often associated and the problematic topic of the Arte sacra futurista has been mostly dismissed as an aberration and/or seen as a sign of the movement’s embrace of fascism, ultimately leading to the movements’ decline. Fillia (pseudonym of Luigi Colombo) was one of the futurist artists who produced paintings on religious themes. This article argues that Fillia used futurist sacred art not in support of Benito Mussolini and fascism, but instead as a means of symbolic protest "from within” the regime. Fillia’s religious paintings are idiosyncratic, complex, and ultimately much more than the traditional religious images they seem to be. Through a close reading of Fillia’s religious paintings from 1931-1933, analyzed in the context of his written works from 1923-1933, the article demonstrates how his iconography and compositional style question and challenge aspects of fascism, and its attempts to establish itself as a lay religion of the state.