Born in Turin, in the Piedmont region of Italy, the son of an industrial chemist, as a child Giacomo Balla studied music. At 9, when his father died, he gave up music and began working in a lithograph print shop. By age twenty his interest in art was such that he decided to study painting at local academies and exhibited 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.