Giacomo Balla, born in Turin on July 18, 1871 as the son of an industrial chemist, studied music as a child. By age twenty his interest in art was such that he decided to study painting at local academies and to exhibit several of his early works. Following academic studies at the University of Turin, Balla moved to Rome in 1895 where he met and married Elisa Marcucci. For several years he worked in Rome as an illustrator and caricaturist as well as doing portraiture. In 1899 his work was shown at the Venice Biennale and in the following years his art was on display at major Italian exhibitions in Rome and Venice, Munich, Berlin and Düsseldorf as well as at the Salon d'Automne in Paris and at galleries in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Influenced by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Giacomo Balla adopted the Futurism style, creating a pictorial depiction of light, movement and speed. He signed the Futurist Manifesto in 1910 and began designing and painting Futurist furniture and creating Futurist clothing. In painting, his new style is demonstrated in the 1912 work titled Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash. In 1914, he also began sculpting and the following year created perhaps his best known sculpture called Boccioni's Fist.
During World War I Balla's studio became a meeting place for young artists but by the end of the war the Futurist movement was showing signs of decline.
Giacomo Balla died in Rome on March 1, 1958.