Magazine article Arts & Activities

Flight of Swallows, Giacomo Balla

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Flight of Swallows, Giacomo Balla

Article excerpt


Young children are fascinated with flight. Share the Art Print with students, and explain the artist who painted the original picture was fascinated with movement, and painted many pictures of swallows in flight.

Ask them to identify the shapes of the birds in the lower third of the picture. Ask students to describe the other parts of the composition, such as the diagonal bands running across the center, as well as the colorful horizontals that appear to form a backdrop to the scene.

Next, show the students the following videos on YouTube: and

The first shows a flock of starlings in formation over the Tiber River in Rome, home of the artist, Giacomo Balla, at the time he painted Flight of Swallows. The second video shows baby swallows learning to fly. After each video, ask students to describe how the artist captured the feeling of these agile birds in flight.

Next, take students outside or to the gymnasium and let them "fly about" like swallows. Videotape the students while they move. Back in the classroom, show students the video. After viewing, give students drawing paper, pencils and crayons, and ask them to draw their own version of birds in flight.


Share the Art Print with students, and give them time to view the image and discuss its subject matter. Challenge students to come up with what they think would be an appropriate title for the piece. Write all ideas on the board. Share the tire with students, and explain the artist's interest in repeating a form to create the sensation or illusion of movement.

Next, give students different types of paper and pencils, and have them draw simple line drawings of birds. Make multiple copies of each student's bird drawings. …

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