“Art interests me very much, but truth interests me infinitely more.”–Alberto Giacometti
Born into a family of artists, Alberto Giacometti began his study of drawing, painting, and sculpting at a young age. His father, a well-known painter, sent him to study in Geneva, Italy, and then Paris, where after several years he left the academy to explore nontraditional ideas and forms. He was drawn to the Surrealist experimentation with the human subconscious as expression of art. Influenced by these ideas, Giacometti began working from memory and imagination rather than copying from nature. By this time, sculpture had emerged as his main artistic passion, although he never stopped drawing and made a name for himself as a superior draftsman.
Buste de Diego (Bust of Diego) is a portrait of the artist’s brother, who remained Giacometti’s main model, studio assistant, and close friend throughout his artistic career. This bust of Diego demonstrates Giacometti’s interest in distorting the scale of the human figure–the narrow head sits on a spindly neck attached to the massive broad shoulders that weigh the sculpture down. This elongated figure standing alone in the space evokes an atmosphere of isolation or loneliness, a feeling common in Giacometti’s sculptures, which have been interpreted as symbols of human spiritual alienation.