The Funeral of Angelo Galli
- Carlo Carrà, 1911
Oil on Canvas (198 x 266), Museum of Modern Art, New York
Carlo Carra’s "Funeral of the Anarchist Galli" (1911; Museum of Modern Art) is mentioned as one of the 50 most important paintings of the 20th Century (right up there with Warhol’s soup!).
Angelo Galli was an Italian anarchist killed by the police during the 1904 general strike in Milan. Determined to avoid the funeral being used as a political demonstration, the police ordered the funeral service to be held in a square in front of the cemetery, rather than in the cemetery itself. The anarchists resisted, and were determined to bury their comrade properly.
The police, who included men mounted on horseback, rioted and attacked an already angry crowd, nearly knocking the coffin to the ground.Carrà was at the time closely involved with the Italian anarchist movement.
The whole structure gives an impression of chaos. One can distinguish the stampede of horses, the violence of the police, the participants’ running.
Carra attended Galli’s funeral, as an active member of the anarchist movement, and vividly recorded the fighting between police and mourners . . . "I saw before me the bier, covered with red carnations, wavering dangerously on the shoulders of the pallbearers. I saw the horses becoming restive, and clubs and lances clashing, so that it seemed to me that at any moment the corpse would fall to the ground and be trampled by the horses", he recollected in his autobiography La Mia Vita (Milan, 1943) .
There are two different pictures by Galli, a cubist influenced sketch, and a more detailed coloured futurist painting.
Galli had been a member of Malatesta’s circle when in London. He also drew a touching picture of a woman in the arms of death for the cover of Sciarpa nera (1909) and a portrait of an anarchist who had just died, for La Rivolta (1911).
- Angelo Galli, "La Morente"
- Cimitero Monumentale di Milano
Foto arch. F. Rizzi