Giacomo Balla, a famous Italian Futurist painter, was a great observer of both human motion and emotion. He showed a profound interest toward neurophysiological and neurological sciences. During his search of his personal artistic style, he attended the lessons of Cesare Lombroso, a criminal anthropologist, who at the time was also professor of neurology at the University of Turin. Some years later, he became a close friend of Doctor Francesco Ghilarducci, who had spent a few years in Paris at Jean-Martin Charcot’s “School.” Balla spent most of his career studying the dynamics of movement and speed. Some of his most famous paintings were inspired by photographic studies on the locomotor system, such as those of the French physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey. His personal painting style reveals his deep interest in neurosciences. We hereby illustrate the role of some of Giacomo Balla’s paintings as historical records of the neuroscience environment at the turn of the 20th century.
- historical neurology
- visual arts