Ricciotto Canudo

Ricciotto Canudo (French: [kanydo]; 2 January 1877, Gioia del Colle – 10 November 1923, Paris) was an early Italian film theoretician who lived primarily in France. In 1913 he published a bimonthly avant-garde magazine entitled Montjoie!, promoting Cubism in particular. He saw cinema as "plastic art in motion", and gave cinema the label "the Sixth Art",[1][2] later changed to "the Seventh Art", still current in French and Spanish, among others. Canudo subsequently added dance as a precursor to the sixth—a third rhythmic art with music and poetry—making cinema the seventh art.[3][4][5]

Ricciotto Canudo
Ricciotto Canudo.jpg
Born2 January 1877 Edit this on Wikidata
Died10 November 1923 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 46)
Resting placeCrématorium-columbarium du Père-Lachaise Edit this on Wikidata


In his manifesto The Birth of the Sixth Art, published in 1911, Canudo argued that cinema was a new art, "a superb conciliation of the Rhythms of Space (the Plastic Arts) and the Rhythms of Time (Music and Poetry)", a synthesis of the five ancient arts: architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry (cf. Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics).[6]

Canudo later added dance as a sixth precursor, a third rhythmic art with music and poetry, making cinema the seventh art.[7]

Montjoie!, Ricciotto Canudo, André Salmon, sculpture by Joseph Csaky, 3rd issue, 18 March 1914[8]


Between 1913 and 1914, he published a bimonthly avant-garde magazine entitled Montjoie!, organe de l'impérialisme artistique Francais. Participating artists included Guillaume Apollinaire, Maurice Raynal, Albert Gleizes and Joseph Csaky. The magazine paid special attention to poetry, prose, articles on art, literature, music and history. The contributors included André Salmon, Igor Stravinsky, Erik Satie, Fernand Léger, Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Alfredo Casella, Raoul Dufy, Stefan Zweig, Robert Delaunay, Max Jacob, and Emile Verhaeren.[9][10]

The first issue was published on 10 February 1913. The second included an essay signed by Igor Stravinsky presenting his new ballet The Rite of Spring as a religious work of faith grounded in a pagan, pantheistic conception.[11] A special issue in the second volume of Montjoie!, published on 18 March 1914, was devoted entirely to the 30th Salon des Indépendants. The article written by André Salmon included photographs of works by Joseph Csaky, Robert Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Alice Bailly, Jacques Villon, Sonia Delaunay, André Lhote, Roger de La Fresnaye, Moise Kisling, Ossip Zadkine, Lucien Laforge and Valentine de Saint-Point.[10] Publication of the magazine stopped in June 1914, on the eve of the First World War.[12]

In 1920, he established an avant-garde magazine Le Gazette de sept arts, and a film club, CASA (Club des amis du septième art), in 1921.[13] His best-known essay "Reflections on the Seventh Art" ("Réflexions sur le septième art") was published in 1923 after a number of earlier drafts, all published in Italy or France.[14]

Other writingsEdit

  • La ville sans chef, Paris 1910
  • Music as a religion of the future, London 1913
  • L'usine aux images, Paris 1926. (A collection of his essays)


  1. ^ L'Intransigeant, 1 April, 1922
  2. ^ abel, richard. french film theory and criticism 1907-1959. Princeton university press. pp. 58–65.
  3. ^ Manifeste des sept arts, coll. Carré d'Art, Séguier, Paris, 1995
  4. ^ La gazette des sept arts, 1922
  5. ^ Manifeste du septième art, La gazette des sept arts, 1923
  6. ^ Giovanni Dotoli, Ricciotto Canudo ou le cinéma comme art, Preface by Jean-Louis Leutrat, Fasano-Paris, Schena-Didier Érudition, 1999
  7. ^ Bordwell, David (1997). On the History of Film Style. Harvard University Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-674-63429-2.
  8. ^ Montjoie!, 18 March 1913
  9. ^ Montjoie!, Gallica
  10. ^ a b Montjoie!, kubisme Archived 2013-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Parino, Francesco. Alfreo Casella and “The Montjoie!-Affair”. Repercussions 10 (2007): 96-123
  12. ^ Noémi Blumenkranz-Onimus, "Montjoie! ou l'héroïque croisade pour une nouvelle culture", 1913, Paris, Klincksieck, tome 2, 1971
  13. ^ Aitken, Ian (2001). European film theory and cinema: a critical introduction. Edinburgh University Press. p. 75. ISBN 0-7486-1168-1.
  14. ^ Canudo, Quaderni del Novecento Francese, Rome, Bulzoni, 1976


  • French Film Theory and Criticism: A History/Anthology, 1907–1939 by Richard Abel (Editor), Princeton University Press, (1993) ISBN 0-691-00062-X
    • The Birth of the Sixth Art pp. 58–66
    • Reflections on the Seventh Art pp. 291–303
  • The Visual Turn by Angela Dalle Vacche (Editor), Rutgers University Press, (2002), ISBN 0-8135-3173-X

External linksEdit