Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

Tall Figure
Painted bronze
Giacometti once said “the shadow that is cast” here he referred to his thin, elongated sculptures, and that he didn’t model the people but the shadows they were casting – during sun down the shadows cast by the human body appear long. Alberto Giacometti was an expressionist artist, he would exaggerate the objects he painted the way he really saw them.
Reading about Giacometti, it was often mentioned that he would create the work by the way he “looked upon himself”. Looking at his work, we can see they are tall, thin, rough and what he said about the work might reflect upon him. For example this tall figure cast in bronze, indeed it looks like shadow during sun down, it’s long, you cannot see the facial features just basic shapes that allow the person to relate it to a human. It is done really rough, normally figures done by Michaelangelo represent perfection, they are smooth and actually scale to a human figure but this is not, it shows a person being skinny, rough. All of his sculptures share the same features, one thing I can notice is that he represents all of them as the same, no facial features makes the humans look ordinary, elongated bodies give it a look of being skinny maybe hungry and cold – the shadow concept also gives me the idea that those figures are just following someone as in trying to be someone.
Looking at the sculptures it looks like they are always going somwehere – you look at a crowded streets today you might notice the similarity of people looking the same and always going somewhere.Giacometti’s paintings are not so different to the sculptures. They consist of a lot of agressive and rough lines, colours are dull and people are alone.

Oil on canvas

This painting here named “Diego” shows a similarity of teh sculptures that Giacometti was doing. Looking at the face you can spot a very rough texture similar to the one used on the sculptures. However, as I mentioned above, the sculptures have no facial features but this painting does, it represents Alberto’s brother. Texture used on the face might represent the age of Diego, while he was in his late forties. Surrounded by dull dark olive green and tones of grey it gives a feeling of sadness considering the age of the subject it might reflect his feelings. As well the figure itself being done in greys and rough lines it gives a similar effect as the sculptures – dull, rough and alone. The facial expression used is no different to its surroundings it again gives feeling of sadness, the eyes seem tired, lips have no smile it is as if the person does not exist.

Seated Man
Oil on canvas

“Once in my father’s studio, when I was eighteen or nineteen, I was drawing some pears which were on a table – at the usual still-life distance. But they kept getting smaller and smaller. I’d begin again, and they’d always go back to exactly the same size”

This quote explains how Giacometti got his unusual style, he would start drawing and as he draws the objects gets smaller. The work above shows the same approach. The subjects shrinking into the distance, the legs are long while the torso appears short making the figure look out of scale – just like the sculptures. Again a feel of isolation is used, it shows the figure being alone in the room, similar texture is worked on top the figure creating a rough look. Colours in this case are more bright, however the palette still consists of greys giving a dull look.


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