Details & Cataloguing

Collection Particulière Italienne : De Giovanni Fattori à Giorgio de Chirico


Giorgio de Chirico
1888 - 1978
Painted in 1951-52.
signed g. de Chirico towards lower left; inscribed questa pittura metafisica "Officine" è opera autentica da me eseguita e firmata and signed Giorgio de Chirico on the reverse
oil on canvas
80 x 60,2 cm; 31 1/2 x 23 3/4 in.
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Probably, Edmondo Sacerdoti Gallery, Milan;
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owners, probably from the above


De Chirico, Galleria d'arte Sacerdoti, Milan 2001, illustrated


Claudio Bruni Sakraischik, Catalogo Generale Giorgio de Chirico, volume settimo, opere dal 1951 al 1974, Milan, 1983, no. 1030, illustrated

Catalogue Note

It was French poet Guillaume Apollinaire who, in 1914, described Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings as “metaphysical” because of the enigmatic quality of his urban landscapes and interiors. Interno metafisico con officine was made in the 1950s, at time when De Chirico was picking up the topics of his early works. The artist made several replicas of his early paintings, especially from the Ferrara and Parisian period. The typology of the “metaphysical interiors” series emerged between 1916 and 1917, during the winter stay of De Chirico in Ferrara for his military service after his return from Paris.
The regular perspectives, along with the geometric and solemn charm of Ferrara progressively revealed themselves to De Chirico and inspired him the iconographic innovation of the “metaphysical interiors”. In this series of works, the artist represents an incredible room filled with objects and geometric shapes. The juxtaposition and unexpected combinations of these elements question the spectator’s preconceived ideas about the true nature of the objects themselves. One of the keys to understand these works is the dualism between a meticulously rendered reality and an ideal abstract and geometrical environment. Like in this work, De Chirico’s best metaphysical compositions are strangely lifeless, exuding the evocative and melancholic power of inanimate objects.

Interno metafisico con officine is a great example of De Chirico’s mature metaphysical paintings, in which daily life objects acquire a mysterious meaning.
In this puzzling interior space, an image appears inside the image: a box inserted in the composition. Representing big buildings and a factory, it plays on various levels of image perception. The surrealists, especially Max Ernst and René Magritte, also used the representational device of the “painting within the painting”. The attention is grabbed by the contrasting elements: the geometric objects and the landscape in the box.

Interno metafisico con officine is also characterized by its surprisingly distorted perspective: the objects are surrounded by walls that could be both floor and ceiling. While De Chirico draws the inspiration of his spatial distortions from the cubists, he underlines the angularity of the Renaissance and neoclassical buildings. In this piece, these diverse influences show through the overlapping geometric shapes as well as the intertwined perspective lines.

De Chirico used to say that the world was a “huge museum of strange things” (William Rubin, ‘De Chirico and Modernism’, in De Chirico, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1982, p. 57). With its strange collection of objects and shapes of all sorts, Interno metafisico con officine captures the sense of wonder expressed in this statement and offers a beautiful example of De Chirico’s creative and inimitable imagination.

Collection Particulière Italienne : De Giovanni Fattori à Giorgio de Chirico