Boccioni was born in Reggio di Calabria (Italy) in 1882, and left for Rome when he was only 18 years old. Painter Giacomo Balla taught him the neo-impressionist technique of divisionism: the dynamic use of elementary colors. In 1910, he met the spiritual father of futurism, the writer Marinetti. He felt drawn to this young, revolutionary movement that advocated a positive belief in permanent innovation. In 1912, Boccioni wrote the 'Manifesto technico della scultura futuristica'. He advocated experimenting with the simultaneous use of different materials in dynamic forms, with a focus on the "abstract reconstruction and not the figurative, form-determining meaning of planes and volumes".
This allowed him to become an influential Italian painter and sculptor, as he helped shape the revolutionary aesthetic of the Futurism movement as one of its principal figures.
In 1915, when Italy became embroiled in the First World War, the patriotic futurists, including Boccioni, joined the army as volunteers. They regarded the Italian involvement first and foremost as the last step towards national unification. Military life did not match the expectations of the highly motivated Boccioni at all. He wrote to a friend, "I will leave this kind of life with the greatest contempt for everything that is not art.... Compared to art, all other things represent nothing more than messing around, a rut, patience and memories". Five days after writing these words Boccioni died after having fallen from his horse, at age 33.