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Giorgio de Chirico

Portrait of Giorgio de Chirico

Enchanted space in the city of Nietzsche

Giorgio de Chirico was born to an Italian family living in Greece and studied in Athens, Florence and Munich, where he was influenced by Nietzsche’s philosophy and Arnold Böcklin’s Symbolist art. In 1910, de Chirico moved to Paris where he made contact with Picasso and befriended Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet and leader of the avant-gardistic movement rejecting poetic traditions in outlook, rhythm, and language. In Paris he began to produce highly troubling dreamlike pictures of deserted cities, eg. The Great Tower, The Soothsayer’s Recompense, Mystery and Melancholy of a Street — pictures with fantastic combinations of images that carried a charge of mystery, and repteted use of haunting iconography.

In 1917 in the Ferrara military hospital, de Chirico met the painter Carlo Carrà, and together they founded Metaphysical painting. Although the movement was short-lived, it was perhaps the most original and important movement in the Italian art of the 20th century, and considered by critics the highest point in de Chirico’s painting career. De Chirico’s Metaphysical paintings were hugely influential on Surrealist artists, who recognized in them the eloquent expression of the unconscious and nonsensical to which they themselves aspired. In 1918 de Chirico and Carrà contributed to the periodical Valori Plastici which gave a literary aspect to Metaphysical painting.

By the 1930s, however, de Chirico renounced all his previous work and reverted to an academic style, and to his study of the techniques of the old masters. His great interest in archeology and history took the form of Neo-Baroque paintings full of horses, still-lifes, and portraits. The Surrealists, in particular, condemned his later work.

Reed Enger, "Giorgio de Chirico, Enchanted space in the city of Nietzsche," in Obelisk Art History, Published March 25, 2015; last modified May 05, 2021, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/giorgio-de-chirico/.

Read More
Christ and the Storm, Giorgio de Chirico

Christ and the Storm

1914
The Philosopher's Conquest, Giorgio de Chirico

The Philosopher's Conquest

1914
The Song of Love, Giorgio de Chirico

The Song of Love

1914
Turin Spring, Giorgio de Chirico

Turin Spring

1914
The Grand Metaphysician, Giorgio de Chirico

The Grand Metaphysician

1917
The Disquieting Muses, Giorgio de Chirico

The Disquieting Muses

1916-1918
The Terrible Games, Giorgio de Chirico

The Terrible Games

1925
Archaeologists, Giorgio de Chirico

Archaeologists

1926
Le Rive Della Tessaglia, Giorgio de Chirico

Le Rive Della Tessaglia

1926
The Painter's Family, Giorgio de Chirico

The Painter's Family

1926
The Two Masks, Giorgio de Chirico

The Two Masks

1926
The Archaeologists, Giorgio de Chirico

The Archaeologists

1927
The Eventuality of Destiny, Giorgio de Chirico

The Eventuality of Destiny

1927
La Cohorte Invincible, Giorgio de Chirico

La Cohorte Invincible

1928
Cavalli, Giorgio de Chirico

Cavalli

1930
Bathers on the Beach, Giorgio de Chirico

Bathers on the Beach

1934
Cavalli in Riva al Mare, Giorgio de Chirico

Cavalli in Riva al Mare

1934

America is no longer a new world but is, and always will be, another world. It is ... a question of molecules, of climate, of different atmosphere, of the special quality of the sun’s rays.

I have been to New York

1938

It is often said of a picture: this picture is not extraordinary, it is nothing remarkable, but “it shows great sensitiveness”.

Sensitiveness

1944
Self Portrait in Black Costume, Giorgio de Chirico

Self Portrait in Black Costume

1948
The Divine Horses, Giorgio de Chirico

The Divine Horses

1963
The divine horses of Achilles, Balios and Xanthos, Giorgio de Chirico

The divine horses of Achilles, Balios and Xanthos

1963
Piazza d'Italia, Giorgio de Chirico

Piazza d'Italia

1964
The Prodigal Son, Giorgio de Chirico

The Prodigal Son

1965
The Mute Orpheus, Giorgio de Chirico

The Mute Orpheus

1971

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