Move your body

Make a picture showing a body or bodies in action. A single person can be shown from different positions or a group of people can be shown interacting. 

Use any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer-aided design, collage, montage). 

Below you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss as a class.

There are then 10 examples of artworks made by children in response to this theme.

Le Coureur [The Runner]

This single figure is intent on running. He seems to be going at a steady pace certain of where he is heading. The fact that he is all one colour with little detail makes us concentrate fully on what he is doing - running. You can almost hear the rhythmic thud of his feet as he passes.

There are no distractions or background information to set him in context.

He is frozen in time.

This bronze sculpture was originally designed as a monument for a French sports stadium. A much bigger version exists. The surface of the work is heavily scarred in a similar way to the work of another very famous sculptor, Giacometti.

Le Coureur [The Runner], Germaine Richier, 1955 − © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015


These dancers are smiling and having fun even though it must be hard work keeping in time. They appear as a white mass moving in unison.

The artist has cut off their feet at the bottom and one of their heads at the top which takes us, the viewer, closer into the scene. The bold thick brushstrokes add to the sense of movement. The strong theatrical lighting is reflected on their legs and the white of their costumes.

Walter Sickert was very interested in the stage and worked as an actor at one time. He made three paintings of these Plaza Tiller Girls, copying them from a photograph he saw in a newspaper rather than drawing them from life. Dancers were used to entertain the audience before the start of a film show.

High-Steppers, Walter Richard Sickert, 1938

L'Équipe de Cardiff [The Cardiff Team]

Can you find the abstracted bodies of the rugby players?

There are lots of coloured circles. Are these the heads of the players or could they be showing the path of the ball being passed?

There are many curves, and the fragmented, repetitive, rhythmic shapes help to create a sense of energy and excitement.

In 1923 this was a very modern painting in both style and content.

The Eiffel Tower had not long been built and rugby and football only became popular in the 1890’s.

Delaunay even worked on a ballet based on these sports.

L'Équipe de Cardiff [The Cardiff Team], Robert Delaunay, 1922

Further considerations

  • What kind of body movements do we associate with different sporting or dance activities?
  • Which ones involve the arms, the legs or the whole body? 
  • How do people try to change the shape of their bodies? 
  • Some activities involve using equipment. What kind of things can the body hold, throw, kick or interact with? 
  • All the Olympic sports involve the body in one way or another. Are there differences in how we move as an individual, against a single opponent or as a team? 
  • Photography can either capture frozen movement or blur it to indicate action. Which works better? 
  • Can clothing be designed to aid movement? 
  • How can we capture fast movement in a single drawing?

Curriculum for Excellence

Expressive Arts

Art and Design

I have experimented with a range of media and technologies to create images, using my understanding of their properties. EXA 3-02a

I can use and combine the visual elements and concepts to convey ideas, thoughts and feelings in expressive and design work. EXA 3-03

Through observing and recording, I can create material that shows accuracy of representation. EXA 3-04a

I can respond to the work of artists and designers by discussing my thoughts and feelings. EXA 2-07a

Health and wellbeing

I am developing my understanding of the human body and can use this knowledge to maintain and improve my welllbeing and health. HWB 3-15a


Artworks created for this theme

Clare Masson
Jenna Walker
Jonathan Stark
Joshua Fried
Kirill Chemick
Olivia Graham
Sophie Ward
Abbas Hashmi
Bobby Crockart
Catalina Runcie