Lines, Shapes, and Colors
This painting is by the French artist Fernand Léger. Its title is Les belles cyclistes (that’s French for “The Women Cyclists”). A cyclist is a person who rides a bicycle. Léger made this scene of women riding bicycles in New York City in the year 1944 using oil paint and canvas. Let’s explore the lines, shapes, and colors in this picture!
What kinds of lines do you see in the picture?
Are they straight, curved, or wiggly?
Draw some of the lines you see in the picture on a piece of paper.
What shapes do you see in the picture?
Can you name or describe them?
Add some of the shapes that you see in the picture to your drawing.
What colors do you see in the picture?
How many different colors do you see?
Using markers, crayons, or colored pencils, add some of the colors that you see in the picture to your drawing.
Sign your name and title your artwork.
Fernand Léger used lines, shapes, and colors to show us a scene of cyclists resting with their bicycles on a windy day. We can see the curved lines of the women’s strong muscles, the round circles of their bicycle wheels, and the bright red, blue, yellow, and green of their surroundings. It looks like they could fly through the city at top speed!
In art, lines, shapes, and colors can create a sense of movement. Sometimes looking at art makes people want to get up and move—so let’s try using our bodies to express the movement in this picture.
Stand up tall and send a wiggle through your arms and legs to warm them up. Pick a line, shape, or color in the picture that makes you want to move. What movements does your line, shape, or color bring to mind? See what different kinds of movements you can create with your body!
We are committed to encounters with art that inspire creative engagement, social and intellectual inquiry, and meaningful connections across disciplines, cultures, and histories. Do you have ideas or suggestions for other learning resources? Is there an artist or topic that you would like to learn more about? We would love to hear your feedback. Please direct comments or questions to Meredith Lehman, head of museum education, at email@example.com.