Giorgio De Chirico
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kê´rê-kô´), Giorgio de
Italian painter whose works are characterized by deep shadow and perspective, barren landscapes, and elements of classical architecture and sculpture.
Chirico, Giorgio de
Chirico, Giorgio de (1888-1978),
Italian painter, who founded the school of metaphysical
painting. Born in Volos, Greece, he used exaggerated perspective and sharp
contrasts of light
and shadow to evoke a haunting, ominous dream
world. He also painted bizarre, faceless mannequins and juxtaposed wildly
unrelated objects in his still lifes, a technique adopted by the surrealists.
"If this man had some courage he would have tired long ago of that game
of making fun of his lost genius." (André Breton, 1928) "Heir
of Bücklin and of imaginative painting in general, Chirico sensationally
revolutionizes anecdote and also the subject in the manner of and in circumstances
proper to the surrealist revolution in the realm of imagination."
(Salvador Dali) The pictorial work of Chirico claimed by Surrealism came
to a halt in 1918. Since then one owes him for nothing but the publication
of an admirable prose work: Hebdomeros (1929).
The Metaphysical Paintings
The term "metaphysical" represented to de Chirico
a search for the essential meaning hidden behind the surface of objects.
He believed that objects acquire various meanings when imbued with the memory
of their viewer. If that which de Chirico called the "chain of memories"
is broken, the objects acquire a new and disquieting guise, "a ghostly
and metaphysical aspect that only a few individuals can see in moments
of clairvoyance and metaphysical abstraction. " The architecture
of Turin and Ferrara, with their solemn porticoed streets and wide piazzas
was for de Chirico the most appropriate setting for these images - locomotive
trains, statues, silhouettes - which are frozen and outside the flow
The depth of perspective in these vistas is often fictitious, and the canvases
often contain contradictions that subtly underscore the sensation of estrangement
and anguish that fascinated the Surrealists.
De Chirico confined himself to this repertoire between about 1912 and 1919.
Thtroughout his career he returned intermittently to these Metaphysical
themes which, while they identify him as a painter for art historians,
still do not exhause the range of his oeuvre.