We have used solution small-angle X-ray scattering to characterize bovine brain calmodulin in the presence and absence of calcium. In the presence of calcium, calmodulin exists in solution as an elongated molecule with a radius of gyration of 21.5 A and a maximum vector length of approximately 62 A. These values are consistent with the dimensions recently determined for the crystal form of rat testis calmodulin. In the absence of calcium, the calmodulin molecule is shorter, the radius of gyration decreases to 20.6 A, and the maximum vector length decreases to approximately 58 A. This change in dimensions is consistent with an overall contraction of the protein through movement of the two lobes closer to each other upon removal of calcium from calmodulin.