Alberto Giacometti was born into a famous family of artists from the Bergell valley in the Italianspeaking 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, using a knife and his fingers, the artist has moulded Diego’s head into the shape of a narrow spade that sits on a massive bust. The hollowset eyes give this portrait an almost haunting presence.