The Italian painter draughtsman, graphic artist, art theorist and art critic Carlo Carrà was born on 11th February 1881 in Quargneto near Alessandria. The artist began drawing at the age of 12. He later worked as a decorators assistant in a villa in Valenza. In 1895, he travelled to Milan. In 1899, he visited Paris for the first time, to prepare the World Exhibition, where he saw works by Théodore Gericault (1791 1824), Auguste Delacroix (1809 1868) and the Impressionists. He then worked as a mural painter in Bellinzona, in the Villa Ottolino in Busto Arsizio, as well as Obranio near Crema. In 1904, Carlo Carrà was taken on by the Milanese Painters Guild. He later attended evening classes at the school of Applied Arts in Castello Sforzesco.
In 1906, Carlo Carrà began studying at the Accademia di Brera in Milan under Cesare Tallone (1853 1919). He became acquainted with Aroldo Bonzagni (1887 1918), Romolo Romani (1884 1916), Ugo Valeri (1873 1911) and Umberto Boccioni (1882 1916). He and Boccioni devoted themselves to divisionism between 1907 and 1909. In 1909, Carlo Carrà met the Italian writer, Emilio Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876 1944). On 11th February 1910, together with Boccioni and Russolo, he signed the "Manifesto dei pittori futuristi" in Marinettis house. On 11th April, they also signed the "Manifesto tecnico della pittura futuristica". In February 1912, a number of Carràs works were shown at the Futurist exhibition in the Galerie Bernhheim-Jeune in Paris. It was here that Carrà met Henri Matisse (1869 1954), André Derain (1880 1954), Amadeo Modigliani (1884 1920), Maurice de Vlaminck (1876 1958), Medardo Rosso (1858 1928) and Fernand Léger (1881 1955). In 1914, Carlo Carrà lived in Paris for a period, but then returned to Italy before the start of WW1. He executed a series of collages and in 1916, began distancing himself from Futurism.
Carràs change in style was partly influenced by his meeting with the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888 1978) in a neurological clinic in Ferrara. De Chirico was the leading exponent of "Metaphysical Painting". Both artists were given rooms in the Villa del Seminario.
In 1919, Carlo Carrà abandoned metaphysical iconography and began a new phase in his painting, linking Italian art from the Trecento to the Renaissance with Cézannes work, and thereby producing an archaic realism. He devoted himself to still life and landscape painting, and was particularly influenced by the work of Cézanne and Giotto.
He also began working as an art critic for the magazine "LAmbrosiano". In 1932, the artist undertook a lecture tour of Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The works from this period contained simplified forms and compositions. Carlo Carrà painted still lifes, seascapes, landscapes and interiors with figures. From 1941, he taught painting at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Prior to the bombings in 1943, he fled to Lake Como.
After the war, he returned to Milan, where he died on 13th April 1966.