Portrait of Diego, 1954
Swiss, 1901 - 1966
38.5 x 33 x 18.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6424)
© Estate of Alberto Giacometti / SODRAC (Montreal) 2003
bust of the artist`s brother Diego
Alberto Giacometti was born into a famous family of artists from the Bergell valley in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. He studied in Paris under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. His favourite model was his younger brother Diego, a successful artist in his own right, who assisted with Alberto's sculpture and casting of bronzes. For the most part, Giacometti's figures are solid, designed without a base, and heavily kneaded to heighten their expressiveness. Here, the artist has moulded Diego's head with a knife and his fingers into the shape of a narrow spade that sits on a massive bust. It creates a powerful presence when viewed from the front; the hollow-set eyes give this portrait an almost haunting presence.