Giacomo BALLA

(Turin, 1871 – Rome, 1958)

Studio per “Volo di Rondini”1913

Pencil on notebook page, 13 x 9 cm.

Provenance: Casa Balla, Rome (Agenda n. 967 studi di volo rondini). Valentina Orsini, Rome (1971)

Expertise: Elena Gigli, Rome 12 February 2016.

Rome, Galleria SM, “Balla, disegni, studi, bozzetti dal 1897 al 1958”,  studio SM13 - Studio d'Arte Moderna, Rome  22 March – 14 April 1971, cat., n.23 (illustrated);
Fondazione Magnani Rocca (Mamiano di Traversetolo, Parma), “Giacomo Balla astrattista futurista”  12 September – 8 December 2015, cat., n.11 p.54 (illustrated), Silvana Editoriale


Balla. Disegni, studi, bozzetti dal 1897 al 1958. Il centenario della nascita Torino 1871-Roma 1958, Galleria SM13 Studio d’arte moderna, Rome 22 March – 14 April 1971, cat., n. 23 (illustrated);

Giacomo Balla astrattista futurista, curated by Elena Gigli and Stefano Roffi, Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Mamiano di Traversetolo, Parma, 12 September – 8 December 2015, cat., n. 11 p.54 (illustrated), Silvana Editoriale


“For the complete painter who loves the eternal truth in the expression of NATURE, when he is inspired by it in a painterly sense, the transmissive currents are naively devoid of any school, method, rule, manner etc. and are virginally sincere, BORN only because they have encountered those particular, very special senses or nerves scrupulously suited to artists' creation", one of Balla's numerous notebook tells us.  Giacomo Balla — a child of nature — always lived in close contact with it:  he moved to Rome from Turin in 1895, going to live with his ageing mother and young wife Elisa Marcucci in their convent home in the Parioli district overlooking the Villa Borghese.
Between late 1912 and early 1913 Balla began a new cycle of paintings associated precisely with what he could see from the balcony of his home:  a flight of swallows between the shutters and the gutter of his house in Via Paisiello.  His daughter Elica was to write in 1986:  "but there were swallows flying and playing around the roof of the house and throughout that season until the late spring he kept busy studying the flight of those swallows; this was a difficult and complex study because in addition to the succession of images of the birds in flight, he intuited and wished to capture the observer's lines of movement as he slowly walks on".  There are countless pieces of paper, from notebooks to the most disaparate sheets of paper, in which Balla simultaneously analyses the analysis and the synthesis of the movement caused by the wings of the birds interacting with each other:  in particular, we should note six studies framed together (Luce Balla bequest to the Galleria Nazionale d'Are Moderna, Rome 1994) analysing the various graphic solutions of swallows in flight in an almost cinematographic sequence.
The study on the notebook page under discussion here is precisely the initial research for the swallows' ongoing flight that was to reach its complex conclusion in the large canvas in the MoMA in New York:  in the lower part, the complexity of flight is delineated in a sequence of directional lines that complete the search for movement against the zigzag of the gutter.
This delicate study was made by Balla on the page of a notebook (13 x  9 cm.).  Luce Balla listed it, together with another study, under number 967 in her catalogue.

                                                                                                                                 Elena Gigli