Giorgio de Chirico

Published on 26 August 2021 at 14:44

We should paint what is not seen

 

An Italian painter, born in Volos ( Greece )  on July 10th 1888. The creator of metaphysical painting, he was a versatile person, also engaged in sculpture, made scenographies for theater plays, an composer.

 

Until 1910, Giorgio de Chirico lived in Florence, where he began to paint a unique series of landscapes that included the Enigma of the Autumn Afternoon of 1910, the first painting from his series Metaphysical Town Square and in a series of paintings he called the word enigma.

 

Some art historians point to it as the first and decisive work of the upcoming movement and point out that it contains all the questions that could be presented as relevant to the topic of metaphysical painting. Today, this painting is in the collection of Peggy Guggenheim in Venice.

 

The painting The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon was painted after Giorgio de Chirico experienced a revelation in Florence's Santa Croce Square, where the world appeared before him as if seeing it for the first time. He wrote: "Yes, I feel melancholy with a specific origin, which came from my reading of the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, who had ...he loved Italy, especially Turin. He found a sense of metaphysics, a sense of calm, serenity in Turin, especially in autumn, which cannot be felt in other cities. And when I went to Turin for the first time, I felt that feeling that Nietzsche was talking about."

 

The Florence square that appears in the painting Enigma of Autumn Afternoon is recognizable, and yet slightly distorted, which indicates that there is more in the square than we could suddenly see with our own eyes as ordinary observers.

 

The scene created by looking at the square from another angle, from close up, is the result of an almost telescopic narrowing of the optical space. The picture simply shows a part of the town square and exudes a feeling of loneliness, confusion and nostalgia.

 

It has many characteristics that have become a feature of Ghirico's work: a deserted square bordered by a classic facade, long shadows and dark colors of the city at dusk and a motionless figure, here a statue.

 

Two draped figures walk next to the statue of Dante in an abandoned square, next to which there is a pedestal with the initials Chirico.

 

The sail visible in the distance was probably inspired by Chirico's memories of visiting the port of Piraeus in Greece in his youth. Shadows indicate the place of absence in the essential sense.

 

Contemporaries criticized his frequent stylistic changes, saying that he lost inspiration and proclaimed the painter's artistic death several times during his life, but without agreement on the date.

 

However, almost thirty years after his natural death, the great metaphysician achieved a personal record with the "Great Metaphysician", a youthful work from 1927.

Namely, in May 2004, at a public auction in Christie's headquarters in New York, the highest price of all time was achieved for De Chirico - a painting of modest dimensions (41 x 27 cm) was sold for 6.4 million dollars to an anonymous buyer.

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