giacometti figures at home

for this week’s e-learning art class, alegra’s class has the task of researching the famous artist. alberto giacometti, one of my all-time favorites…i especially love his iconic sculptures of tall, skinny figures walking through life!

the children’s assignment is rather straightforward and simple, they are to research giacometti’s work and create a slide presentation of their finding.  then they can use materials from around the house to make some sort of a human or animal sculpture.  all this got me thinking about a wonderful sculpture project that is relatively simple and will be a great way to cement their research with some active, arty work… and is a fantastic way to spend a rainy afternoon at home this week!

to start with, and to remember giacometti and his art, alegra and i sat down and looked through the giacometti exhibition catalogue from the retrospective show at the Pera Musuem in 2015. we also found a lovely short video from the pera museum that you can access here :  and another from the tate modern in london that is found here:

like many artists, giacometti’s art and interests shifted over time, our sculpture project is representative of some of his later work in the 1950s and 60s.  during this time abstract art, with less human figures, was very popular. rather than following this trend, giacometti chose to reintroduce the human figure as a form of art and used his bronze sculptures of human figures to represent how people move in space but are often alone; even though they may want very much to interact and communicate with others.

next for the project….

materials you will need-

  • Wire (pipe cleaners will work too)
  • scissors
  • aluminum foil
  • air dry clay
  • cardboard square
  • black paint and paintbrush (optional)


– alegra and i also made a short video to make it a bit easier to follow….you can find it here…

  • first, cut two pieces of wire, one a bit longer than the other
  • bend and twist the longer wire into a loop creating a “head” shape at the top and legs and feet at the bottom
  • use the shorter wire to create arms by wrapping it around your sculpture’s “stomach” area
  • you should now have a tall skinny human figure- a stickman sort of sculpture
  • next take tin foil and wrap it all around your sculpture tightly, making sure to squeeze it a bit so it will stay put
  • finally, stick two pieces of airdry clay to your cardboard square and press your sculpture’s feet firmly into the clay
  • for the optional part you can paint the whole thing (cardboard and clay included) with black paint for a look that is even more like giacometti’s famous dark bronze figures
  • allow everything to dry fully…and enjoy your own personal giacometti inspired creation!

ps…here is a picture of five year old alegra sketching at the Giacometti exhibition in Istanbul 🙂

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