The Work of Antonio Sant'Elia: Retreat into the Future

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Born in 1888 and killed during World War I, Antonio Sant’Elia was an Italian visionary architect who brilliantly anticipated in his remarkable sketches and futurist manifesto many of the characteristics of the great metropolises of the modern age. His drawings, which are practically all that remains of his work, include revolutionary cityscapes with setback skyscrapers, overpasses for pedestrians, and traffic lanes; power plants that express both admiration for science and a lingering need for lyricism; and futurist stations for trains and airplanes dramatized by bold, kinetic facades.

This handsome book is the most comprehensive account of Sant’Elia’s work ever written. Esther da Costa Meyer analyzes his dazzling designs, decoding his “high-tech” imagery and showing how he was influenced not only by the futurist movement but also by other international currents that wove through Milanese culture—such as symbolism, art nouveau, and the Vienna Secession—as well as visual culture and industrial architecture. Da Costa Meyer also covers Sant’Elia’s short life, his career as a socialist, and the posthumous cult that grew around him during Italy’s fascist regime.

Yale University Press
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