Umberto Boccioni (1882 – 1916) was an influential Italian painter and sculptor. He helped shape the revolutionary aesthetic of the Futurism movement as one of its principal figures. Despite his short life, his approach to the dynamism of form and the deconstruction of solid mass guided artists long after his death. His works are held by many public art museums, and in 1988 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York organized a major retrospective of 100 pieces.
Boccioni became the main theorist of the artistic movement. "Only when Boccioni, Severini and a few other Futurists traveled to Paris and saw what Braque and Picasso had been doing did the movement begin to take real shape." He also decided to be a sculptor after he visited various studios in Paris, in 1912, including those of Braque, Archipenko, Brâncuși, Raymond Duchamp-Villon and, probably, Medardo Rosso. In 1912 he exhibited some paintings together with other Italian futurists at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, and the following year returned to show his sculptures at the Galerie La Boétie: all related to the elaboration of what Boccioni had seen in Paris, they in their turn probably influenced the Cubist sculptors, especially Duchamp-Villon.
In May 1916, he was drafted into the Italian Army to fight in WWI, and was assigned to an artillery regiment at Sorte of Chievo, near Verona. On 16 August 1916, he was thrown from his horse during a cavalry training exercise and was trampled. He died the following day, age thirty-three.