The Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-66) was arguably the greatest sculptor of the twentieth century. He was also--as James Lord persuasively argued in Giacometti: A Biography--a heroic figure whose vocation sustained him through a life of crippling anxiety and erotic guilt.
Almost twenty years after it first appeared, Giacometti has attained the status of a classic, one of the most candid and complete biographies of an artist in our time. In Mythic Giacometti, Lord reveals the hidden "blueprint" of that work: a daringly literal, visionary interpretation of the myth of Oedipus as it affected the conduct and outcome of Giacometti's life. The result is a case study both in the development of an artist and in the writing of biography. Lord concentrates on the private totems of Giacometti's life-family legend, childhood memory,
illness and injury, crucial sexual encounters, intimations of mortality-that amounted, in Lord's view, to signs of a tragic destiny directly linked to the central tragedy of Western literature.