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1 About People Alberto Giacometti. 2 Enduring Understanding Students will understand that artworks do encapsulate the themes of identity and relationships.

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Presentation on theme: "1 About People Alberto Giacometti. 2 Enduring Understanding Students will understand that artworks do encapsulate the themes of identity and relationships."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 About People Alberto Giacometti

2 2 Enduring Understanding Students will understand that artworks do encapsulate the themes of identity and relationships in a variety of ways.

3 3 Essential Questions Overarching Questions What is an identity ? How do artists form identity or relationships with their art? Topical Questions What is existentialism? What is the influence of existentialism in the works of some artists? How does transience impact on existence ?

4 4 5W1H Alberto Giacometti When What Modernity and Alienation Living Patterns Transience Where Switzerland How Sculptures Why Surrealist Influence War Experiences Haunting of Death Existentialism Which Surrealism

5 5 Biographical Outline 1901:Born in Borgonova, Stampa, Switzerland, near the border of Italy. 1915:He went to a boarding school in Schiers :He attended the School of Fine Arts in Geneva and another school nearby, School of Arts and Crafts. 1920:He visited Italy with his father and saw the works of art by the great Italian masters with his own eyes. 1922:He studied under sculptor Antoine Bourdelle at Académie de la Grande-Chaumière.

6 6 When ( ) :World War I. 1924:Surrealist Manifesto. 1938:Jean-Paul Sartres La Nausee 1944:Beauvoirs Pyrrhus et Cinéas :World War II. 940s-90s:Cold War :Korean War :Vietnam War.

7 7 Where Switzerland Switzerland was neutral during WWI & II. Although there were plans drawn against Switzerland by the Germans but she was never attacked. She managed to remain free form the invasion due to military deterrence, economic concession to Germany and also events in the war delayed any annexation on the country. Paris Paris was the center of art in 19 th and 20 th C Europe, before WWII.

8 8 What Subject Matter Portraits- usually of his immediate family and friends. His mother (Annetta), his wife (Annette) and his brother (Diego). Figures- man (active) and women (passive). Eg: Man pointing, walking while women standing. Figures- isolated or in a distant group. Initially they were small but became attenuated and emaciated.

9 9 What Theme He wanted to show a more individualistic view of his subject- what he felt about them, his sense of their otherness and their separateness from him. One evening, he had seen his friend from a distance and was fascinated that he could still recognize him at that distance. Hence, the rough outlines of his figures could be an attempt to capture that distance.

10 10 What Theme Modernity and Alienation? Giacometti speaks of loneliness in modern city life. Though the streets may be crowded with people, but the frantic lifestyle never allow each others eyes to meet nor exchanging friendly words. The city is filled with people who live alone with no friends and surrounded by millions of faceless city- dwellers. Perpetuating the Transience The days pass, and I delude myself that I am trapping, holding back, whats fleeting. ( Sylvester, 1994). Capturing the sense of the transitory- our perception is constantly shifting.

11 11 What Theme Living Patterns in Humanity Giacometti did say that he never intended his works to express Existentialism nor loneliness. Its the people on the streets that interest him. Its the living patterns and the way they interacted with one another.

12 12 His 2-D Work Two Figures, 1947 Oil on paper, 41.9 x 59.7 cm Tate Gallery, UK This work has sometimes been known as 'Sketch for "Pointing Man" ' on account of the left-hand figure's resemblance to this sculpture below:

13 13 His 2-D Work The Studio 1, 1954 Lithograph on paper, 54 x 43.9 cm Tate Gallery, UK

14 14 His 2-D Work Diego, 1959 Oil on canvas, 66.4 x 55.3 cm Tate Gallery, UK

15 15 His 2-D Work Caroline, 1965 Oil on canvas, 132 x 82.4 cm Tate Gallery, UK

16 16 His Early Work Spoon Woman, , cast 1954 Bronze, x x 51.4 x 21.6 cm Guggenheim Museum, New York

17 17 What- Spoon Woman This is Giacomettis first major sculpture. It is inspired by the human-shaped spoons used by the Dan tribe in Africa. These spoons were available at his time in the Paris museum. The dominant part of the sculpture is the belly-like bowl of the spoon. The spoon handle appears to be the waist and above it, the breasts. Below the belly-like bowl, the legs function as the base or pedestal. The belly-like bowl of the spoon can be liken to a womans womb.

18 18 What- Influence of Spoon Woman Dan Spoons

19 19 His Cubist Work Composition (Man and Woman), 1927 Bronze, 39.5 x 45.5 x 15 cm Tate Gallery, UK

20 20 His Surrealistic Work Hour of the Traces, 1930 Painted plaster, wood and steel, 68.6 x 36.2 x 28.6 cm Tate Gallery, UK It was no longer the exterior forms that interested me but what I really felt. - Giacometti-

21 21 Woman with Her Throat Cut, 1932 Bronze, 22 x 87.5 x 53 cm Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh There was clearly a Surrealistic atmosphere that influenced me. - Giacometti- His Surrealistic Work

22 22 What- Woman with Her Throat Cut This work is definitely Surrealistic in style. It is a metaphor for sexual pleasure and violence. This insect-like form is taken from the praying mantis- an insect known to devour the male counterpart after mating. One of the arms ends with a cylindrical weight that according to the artist

23 23 His Surrealistic Work The Palace at 4 a.m., Wood, wire, glass and string, 63.5 x 71.4 x 40 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York We used to construct a fantastic palace at night…a very fragile palace of matchsticks - Giacometti-

24 24 What- The Palace at 4 a.m. It has a cage-like structure which also looks like a model for a stage. The figure on the left is his mother while the three panels behind her are actually a curtain. The wave-like shape on the right is a spinal column. The bird on the top right looks like a pterodactyl species (flying reptiles of the dinosaur age). Both the spinal column and the dinosaur-bird are memories associated with a female friend of his. He identifies himself with the oval shape object with a tiny ball on it, at the center. The whole work reflects nothing of reality but instead the weirdness of dreams and memories.

25 25 His Later Work? Walking Woman, /1936 Bronze, x 27.6 x 37.8 cm Tate Gallery, London The form echoes ancient Egypt and Greek art.

26 26 His Later Work? Walking Woman, /1936 Bronze, x 27.6 x 37.8 cm Tate Gallery, London The form echoes ancient Egypt and Greek art.

27 27 His Early Work The Invisible Object, 1934 Bronze, 153 x 32 x 29 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington Wall painting of Queen Nefertari ?

28 28 What- Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object) The figure is stylized and shows a woman seated on a chair. Her hands appear to be holding the void- an empty space. It reflects the Ancient Egyptian sculptures that Giacometti so admired. This suggests an interpretation that is seen from the ancient Egyptians perspective. Egyptians believed that a persons memory and personality lived on after death. They often depicted the memory as a bird with a human head and arms. Upon close scrutiny, the right armrest of the chair looks like a bird. Does this mean that shes holding onto an invisible soul?

29 29 The Nose, 1947 Metal, cord, painted plaster, 82 x 42 x 40.5 cm Kunstmuseum Basel, UK

30 30 Man Pointing, 1947 Bronze, 178 x 95 x 53 cm Tate Gallery, UK His Later Work

31 31 His Later Work Three Men Walking II, 1949 Bronze, 76.5 x 33 x 32.4 cm Metropolitan Museum of Art, US

32 32 His Later Work City Square, 1948 Bronze, 58.5 x 44.5 x25 cm Private Collection

33 33 What- City Square The walking figures are all men. The figure at the center with arms at the sides is a woman. This is commonly spotted in Giacomettis post-war figures- men are active while women are passively still, frozen to the ground. He once said that every second the people stream together and go apart…the men walk past each other, and they pass without looking. If not, they stalk a woman, so all the four men walk towards the woman standing still at the center.

34 34 His Later Work Standing Woman, Bronze, 168 x 15.9 x 34 cm Tate Gallery, UK

35 35 His Paintings Four Figurines on a Base, 1950/65 Bronze, x 41.9 x 31.4 cm Tate Gallery, UK

36 36 What- Four Figurines on a Base He related this work to a time when he sat outside a Paris brothel. He saw four naked women at the far end of the room. He recalled; The distance which separated us, the polished floor, seemed insurmountable in spite of my desire to cross it and impressed me as much as the women The minute size of the figures and the heavy base with gradient sides implies a floor that is retreating or receding and thus recreates the sense of distance.

37 37 His Later Work Bust of Diego, 1955 Bronze, 56.5 x 32 x 14.5 cm Tate Gallery, UK

38 38 What- Bust of Diego From the mid 1950s, Giacometti concentrated on portraiture. He repeatedly drew and sculpted his immediate circle of family and friends. Diego who sat for this bust is his younger brother, a year in age difference. Diego often sat for him, as his model. The head is flattened which allows Giacometti to play up the profile. This approach is reminiscent of ancient Egyptian figures. However, apart from providing a visual impact on the audience with Diegos accentuated profile, it also provided some form of psychological intensity when viewed from the front.

39 39 His Paintings Venice Woman IX, 1956 Bronze, 113 x 16.5 x 34.6 cm Tate Gallery, UK

40 40 His Later Work Standing Woman, c Bronze, 68.6 x 140 x 27 cm Tate Gallery, UK

41 41 His Later Work Standing Woman, c Bronze, 69.2 x 13.7 x 24.1 cm Tate Gallery, UK

42 42 His Later Work Standing Woman, c Bronze, 65.1 x 12.1 x 20 cm Tate Gallery, UK

43 43 His Paintings Annette IV, 1962 Bronze, 57.8 x 23.6 x 21.8 cm Tate Gallery, UK

44 44 His Later Work The Chariot, 1950 Bronze, cm Private Collection

45 45 What- The Chariot The sculpture is immovable because it is raised on two plinths It cannot be rolled across the floor because the wheels are fixed. The figure stands tall and thin with its feet anchored onto a platform that stands on a connective pole between the two wheels. The Chariot suggests stillness and movement. This womans arms are not at the sides but held away from her body.

46 46 Lotar III, 1965 Bronze, 65 x 25 x 35 cm Private Collection

47 47 What- Lotar III Lotar is based on a friend Elie Lotar, who was a photographer. He knew Giacometti since the 1920s. He was modelling this bust during his last days in Paris before leaving for a hospital in the Swiss town of Chur. After when he died, his brother Diego cast the sculpture in bronze and place it on his grave in Borgonova.

48 48 Why His Background Giacomettis father Giovanni and his godfather Cuno Amier were artists themselves. He started drawing at an early age, creating illustrations for the books he read. Giovanni encouraged his sons artistic developments and his extensive library was a source of inspiration and research to his young son. He learned about the masters of the past and copied their works. He was most happy when working in his fathers studio as a schoolboy.

49 49 Why His Background At Schiers, his talent was recognized and admired by his teachers and fellow students. He was even given a private studio. When he was at Italy with his father, they were living in Venice and the young Giacometti was thrilled by the paintings of Tintoretto and the frescoes of Giotto. He was particularly struck by the gentle expression and posture of Giottos figures in The Lamentation of Christ, c

50 50 Why- His Influence Giotto di Bondone (c ) Commonly known as Giotto, he was an Italian painter and architect from Florence Italy. He is considered to be the pioneers in contributing to Italian Renaissance. Giottos frescoes are found in the Scovegni Chapel, in Padua Italy. Its owner commissioned Giotto to decorate the church.

51 51 Why- His Influence The Lamentation of Christ, c by Giotto di Bondone Fresco, cm Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy ?

52 52 Why His Background Giacomettis first experience with death was in the autumn of 1921 when an elderly Dutchman, Pieter van Meurs fell ill and died on a trip with him to the Bavarian Alps. Giacometti was alone at his bedside. This ignited a fear of death in him that haunted him for the rest of his life. Sleeping in the dark sparked such terrors of dying for him and he has never slept with the lights off since. During World War II, he was on the run, trying to escape from the war. He was a perfectionist by nature and inclined to think of the world as imperfect.

53 53 Why His Background Giacometti decided to become a sculptor in 1922 and started training with Émile-Antoine Bourdelle. His works were initially representational (like Bourdelles) but turned to abstraction later. It was also a time when the strangely distorted unnaturalistic forms of African tribal masks became a major inspiration for artists such as Picasso and Braque. The influence of Cubism can be seen in Giacomettis early sculptures. He was also fascinated with the abstract works of Brancusi and the sculptures of ancient Egypt and Greece.

54 54 Why His Background His abstract pieces exhibited in 1929 at the Galerie Jeanne- Bucher in Paris caught the attention of the Surrealists. In June 1933, his father Giovanni died suddenly and fell immediately ill for several weeks after that. When he recovered and went back to Paris, his interest in Surrealism and pure abstraction started to wane. He went back to the natural world for inspiration and began to use real people as models. He began using his brother Diego and a woman called Rita. He married his girlfriend Annette Arm who later became another of his important model. He met Caroline, a young woman after his relationship soured with Annette. Soon, Caroline became his sitter too.

55 55 Why Historical Background The dawn of war brings many intellectuals to Paris. Giacometti became friends with Existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Satre ( ) and Simone de Beauvoir ( ). During the war, he and his brother together with Diegos partner Nellie tried to escape from Paris on bicycle when the Germans swept into Paris. They had a brush with death in Etampes when the Germans bombed the city. When they reached Moulins, they decided to flee back to Paris after being overtaken by advancing German troops.

56 56 Why Primitive Art Cycladic Art, Egyptian, Sumerian or even Chinese. According to him- ancient sculptures are done in a small scale which instinctively more right. And in the course of history, perception has been mentally transposed into concept I can do your head life size because I know its life size. I dont see directly any more, I see you through my knowledge. – Giacometti.

57 57 Why- His Influence Jean-Paul Satre ( ) Satre was very influential in those years during WWII. He was a French existentialist philosopher, a playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist and literary critic. He believed that human existence was meaningless and fragile, susceptible to death. In another words, life is devoid of meaning. He felt that Giacomettis tall and thin sculptures expresses the fragility of human existence- they look as if they are fading away to nothing. He wrote La Nausee, a novel that expresses his views on existentialism with the themes such as the unfamiliarity and hostility of objects, others and self.

58 58 Why- His Influence Existentialism The basis of Sartres theories can be found in the Transcendence of the Ego. Existentialism is a way of thinking that champion actions being more important than beliefs and thoughts. In Sartres dictum- existence precedes essence, which means in a general sense, that there is no pre-defined moral or spiritual essence to humanity but only the actions that make us who we are.

59 59 Why His Inspiration Once when he was watching a black and white cinema newsreel, he realized that he no longer sees figures in a three-dimensional space but only black and white specks. He began to see the people and objects around him with new and fresh perspectives. He began to make larger figures but they became taller and thinner.

60 60 How His early sculptures stirred fervour in the Surrealistic fraternity. His sculptures were surrealistic in style in the early 1930s. They are mysterious, like dreams, beautiful and frightening at the same time. His sculptures during this time have movable parts- eg: Woman with Her Throat Cut, His figures became smaller and smaller in the late 1930s. However, when he returned Paris after the war in the late 1940s, his figures became tall and thin. This is when he started to elongate his figures. They are tall, emaciated and roughly outlined (it appears as if a figure seen from a great distance).

61 61 How Their surfaces are rough and craggy. His women may be motionless but the cragginess makes it less still, trembling with motion. They are stylized and not naturalistic. He manipulates forms that the appearance contradicts our notion. In another words- how it appears is not what we know. He worked from life and from memory and as he continued to work that way, hes sculptures become smaller and smaller. The chest or shoulders of his subject function as the base/pedestal. The head become increasingly important- some can be so thin that it is both frontal view and profile at the same time. particularly their eyes and gaze.

62 62 How Giacometti usually begins his sculpture in clay or plaster. He builds larger works up in stages using a metal armature. Bandages are used to wrap around the armature before covering it with clay or plaster. Then, he models the clay using fingers and carving tools. When it is done, he copies them in wood or cast in a metal- bronze. Unfortunately, his perfectionism often means that a lot of his works do not see fruition.

63 63 Reference Gaff, J. (2002). Artists in Their World: Alberto Giacometti. Franklin Watts: London. Sylvester, D. (1994). Looking at Giacometti. Chatto & Windus Ltd: UK. tti.pdf &artistid=1159&page=1

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