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Art History: Giorgio de Chirico

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Tracy M

on 22 November 2014

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Transcript of Art History: Giorgio de Chirico

About the Artist
His Movements
His Movements
His Main Movement
His Famous Paintings
Giorgio de Chirico
By: Tracy Meng
Giorgio de Chirico
July 10th, 1888 in Volos, Greece
November 19th, 1978 in Rome, Italy
He was born and raised in a small town in the Sicilian region. His parents were both Italian and he had 2 other siblings. His first works consisted of architecture, landscapes and scenery.
Place of Study:
He first studied at the Polytechnic Institute in Athens. After the death of his father in 1905, de Chirico moved to Munich, where he completed two years of study at the Academy of Fine Arts. After leaving the Academy, he continued to educate himself, as he traveled to Milan and Turin, before settling in Florence.
Many of de Chirico's artworks were dedicated to expressing the imagination. His dreams, nightmares and hallucinations, all influenced his creative style. Most of his famous pieces are without reason and free of the conscious control.
Giorgio de Chirico would incorporate a series of random/ absurd objects, in many of his works, such as; bananas, mannequins, masks etc. It usually leaves the audience feeling, puzzled or wondrous.
During the mid 1910's, de Chirico would use distortion to express his subconscious mind and his unique creativity.
This is one of his most famous surrealist paintings. This piece gives the audience an uncertain, almost puzzling feeling. It seems like de Chirico, based this piece on one of his hallucinations. The bizarre placement of the random objects (mask, boxes and mannequins) makes this piece baffling and illogical to most. De Chirico used metaphysical techniques as well, since there is a mysterious figure lurking in the background, contrasting the bright landscapes of the italian architecture.
Style of painting that began with Chirico, he used representational but incongruous imagery to create disquieting and unsettling effects on the viewer.
The metaphysical movement features works that contains "dreamlike" features, but with sharp contrasts of light and shadows. This often gives de Chirico's works, a threatening and mysterious quality.
The metaphysical movement uses a realist style. Such as painted Italian architecture, but with an unnaturally empty aspect.
Often, objects and statues are brought together in strange juxtapositions (bizarre placements) which display suspense and exaggeration.
This movement allows artists to create a visionary world of the mind, that is beyond physical reality.
The Metaphysical Movement (Pittura Metafisica):
His early style was influenced by the paintings of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger. The use of disturbing, yet classical portrayal of people in their works, inspired de Chirico.
De Chirico began painting a unique series of landscapes based on Florence, that included The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon (1910). The city of Florence, Italy influenced his extraordinary style of painting illogical shadows casted by unseen objects that contrasts with the clear light, rendered by the italian architecture.
Surrealism techniques influenced his work tremendously, many of his concepts are primarily based on hallucinations, nightmares and dreams. Also, de Chirico used the method of distortion to make his paintings look eerie and without conscious control.
World War 1 influenced his metaphysical period, which are memorable for the haunted, brooding moods evoked by de Chirico's images. WW1 provided de Chirico inspiration, for instilling irrational fear and agitation into his paintings.
The Disquieting Muses
The Disquieting Muses
Oil paint
This is such an effective piece because of the unique ways of how he used contrast, while still preserving balance in this piece. The use of dark colours and strange figures, contrasting the bright and ordinary architecture in the background unifies the piece. Also, his unusual positioning of the objects signifies maturity but also a sense of irrational fear. Some how, de Chirico can make the most absurd looking objects into something captivating.
The Song of Love (Le chant d'amour or Love Song)
The Song of Love
Oil on canvas
De Chirico used his unique techniques of surrealism to create a surreal cityscape of unrelated objects in this piece. Such as a glove, a classical italian statue, a smoke-spewing factory, and a green ball. This random mixture of items, definitely represents a mind free of conscious control. The metaphysical movement is highly represented in this painting as well. De Chirico's humanoid forms, vacuous italian architecture, shadowy passages, and the eerily streets evoke an atmosphere of anxiety and melancholy. This is definitely a perfect representation of the metaphysical movement.

This is one of his most acclaimed pieces because of the variety of techniques and colours used. De Chirico used an abundance of primary colors to draw attention to symbolic objects, and the distinct shading techniques brings excitement to the work. This piece also contributes to his unique use of perspective, since all shadows are at very odd angles.
The Enigma of the Hour
De Chirico created the work during his early period, when he focused on metaphysical depictions of town squares and other urban environments. The Enigma represents one of de Chirico's best metaphysical pieces, because it depicts an urban scene with the classical architecture and indifferent, angular lighting. Also, he creates several figures that have vague features, to give the sense that they are absent, and threatening.
This piece is very effective because, de Chirico used critical attention to detail, symmetrical balance and symbolism. Such as in the italian architecture, he used such precision for the textures, to highlight the building. Also, the 3 diverse figures attracts attention, as they symbolize the balance and control of this painting. As the clock reads "3:56" that symbolizes a sense of distress and mystery into the work, which is a successful representation of the metaphysical movement,
The Enigma of the Hour
Oil paint
My Favourite Piece
Melancholy and Mystery of a Street
This is definitely my favourite piece by Giorgio de Chirico because of the contradicting nature of the painting. The work represents an encounter between two figures: a small girl running with a hoop and an uncanny figure. It is very interesting to me, how the girl (represents innocence and light) arises from the shadows and the figure (represents corruption and darkness) arises from the light. The contrasting attributes between light and dark, balances the painting, but leaves the audience confused and baffled.
This painting also makes me feel uncomfortable but curious at the same time. In this eerie space, I believe something profound will take place, but the audience are not privy to that scene. This is an empty stage, since we are shown the street right before an unseen dramatic event. The threatening unseen figure, draws in an innocent girl, and the box on wheels, with its shadowy interior, seems to indicate entrapment. (Which further emphasizing the sense of impending tragedy) This painting definitely mesmerizes me, with its effective sense of mystery.
Melancholy and Mystery of a Street
Oil on canvas
His father, named Evaristo De Chirico, was a railroad engineer. His mother, named Gemma Cervetto, was a noblewoman of Genoese origin.
During the First World War De Chirico was back in Italy, where he enlisted in the Italian Army and served at the hospital at Ferrara.
He sold his first painting "The Red Tower" in 1913.
De Chirico was married to the Russian ballet dancer, Raissa Gurievich Kroll. He worked with the 'Russian Ballet' company of Sergei Diaghilev. De Chirico designed scenery and costumes for the 'Russian Ballet' production
Portrait of Raissa Gurievich Kroll
It has been suggested de Chirico, suffered from migraines and used his head aches as a source of inspiration for his paintings, and the development of the metaphysical movement.
The Red Tower
Oil on canvas
His younger brother Andrea, was a famous writer and musician. Andrea later, adopted a pseudonym of Alberto Domenico Savino.
Famous Quotes
"To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken it will enter the regions of childhood vision and dream." ~Giorgio de Chirico
"What I hear is valueless; only what I see is living, and when I close my eyes my vision is even more powerful." ~Giorgio de Chirico
"Everything has two aspects: the current aspect, which we see nearly always and which ordinary men see, and the ghostly and metaphysical aspect, which only rare individuals may see in moments of clairvoyance and metaphysical abstraction." ~Giorgio de Chirico
The Metaphysical Movement (Pittura Metafisica):
Where did it start?
The movement was created by Giorgio de Chirico and the former futurist, Carlo Carra, in the north Italian city of Ferrara.
How did it influence other movements/artists?
The Metaphysical movement was highly influential, it influenced the surrealism world and many surrealists, to break the barriers of the conscience mind, and enter the regions of childhood vision and dreams. It created the development of the dream-like, and bizarre works of Max Ernst and René Magritte. (The movement also caught the attention of Picasso)
Where did it spread to?
During that time the metaphysical movement spread all through Italy (Rome, Florence, Naples etc.) Also, it rendered through Western Europe, such as Switzerland, France, Germany and even some areas of Spain.
How does it influence art today?
This movement influences today's artists to think outside the box and to escape all human limits. Such as thinking without logical sense and using sharp contrast to give an exciting, but mysterious quality.
How did the Metaphysical movement end?
Strictly speaking, the movement only lasted the six months, when De Chirico and Carra worked together. The movement proved to be short-lived; it came to an end because of dissension between de Chirico and Carrà, over who had founded the movement.
After the ending of the Metaphysical Movement:
After the movement ended, Giorgio de Chirico changed style completely, but eventually his work got less effective and mesmerizing.
Giorgio de Chirico's main medium is definitely oil paint. He prefers to use oil paint because of the strong intensity of colour. Intense colour is needed to create sharp shadows and contrast, in his work.
The Nostalgia of the infinite
Oil paint
Oil paint is used very effectively in this piece, as it brings out the sharp shadows and eerie figures. This piece has a strong contradicting nature of light and dark.
The Melancholy of Departure
Oil paint
In the Melancholy of Departure, oil paint is used to highlight and sharpen the italian architecture, and bring texture and contrast to the shadows.
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