Publication Date

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Art History


Anthony Ranysford


Antonio Sant'Elia, Cult of the Fallen, Fascist mythology, F.T. Marinetti, Italian Fascism, Italian Futurism

Subject Areas

Art history


This thesis is an examination of the posthumous legacy of Antonio Sant'Elia propagated by F.T. Marinetti during the 1920s and `30s in Fascist Italy. It is during the period of Second Futurism that the Manifesto of Futurist Architecture and the images from the La Città Nuova series came to define Sant'Elia's identity as the figurehead of Futurist architecture. This research contributes to the scholarly discussion of Second Futurism by giving context to specific actions taken by Marinetti during the Fascist era to control how Sant'Elia would be remembered.

This thesis analyzes the Fascist government's control over Italian society, religion, and culture to understand how art movements functioned in Fascist Italy. By using Emilio Gentile's theory of the "sacralization of politics" to explain how Fascist society functioned in Italy and to identify "fascist religion," this study explores the important role both myth and ritual played in unifying Italian society during this era. It is with this understanding that this thesis concludes by connecting Sant'Elia's posthumous legacy to the Fascist cult of the fallen.