Activity: Depicting Motion with Carlo Carrà

  • Grades: All Ages
  • Subjects: Art Activities

Carlo Carrà and his artist friends were fascinated with showing movement in their artworks. They lived during a time when the world was rapidly changing, industry was developing, trains were getting faster, cars and planes were invented, and the machine was causing permanent changes to the everyday experience.

Carrà wanted to communicate this fast-moving world within his artworks. In order to do this, he used loose brushstrokes to define the individual figures within his paintings. He also showed the space where the figures moved just before and where the figures are moving just after. Carrà used color and direction of lines to show movement in The Swimmers.

Four people are depicted in this painting swimming quickly through the water.
Carlo Carrà, The Swimmers, 1910-1912, Carnegie Museum of Art

Discuss with These Questions:

  • Look closely at this painting. Where do you see people in the painting? How many people do you see?
  • Carrà used color in his work very intentionally. Make a list of the colors you see. What thing does each color depict?
  • Think about the movements you make while swimming in order to move forward, backward, and stay afloat. Where do you see evidence of movement in the artwork? What do you see that makes you say that?

Get Creative: Create an Artwork That Shows Movement

To make your own artwork depicting movement, find some paper and something to draw with.

  1. Move your hand back and forth. Look at the movement. Is it fast or slow? How would you depict this movement using lines on your paper?
  2. What colors would you add to enhance the depiction of your hand in motion?
  3. Play or sing your favorite song and teach someone in your home a dance move. Watch them dancing. Try sketching their body in motion. Are their arms moving and legs staying still? Or the opposite? Both? Use lines and shapes to show this action in your drawing.
  4. Add color to your sketch to enhance this motion.