Details & Cataloguing

Collection Particulière Italienne : De Giovanni Fattori à Giorgio de Chirico


Giorgio de Chirico
1888 - 1978
Painted in 1950-51.
signed G. de Chirico towards lower left
oil on canvas
35,4 x 54,9 cm; 14 x 21 5/8  in.
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Probably, Edmondo Sacerdoti Gallery, Milan;
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owners, probably from the above


Claudio Bruni Sakraischik, Catalogo Generale, Giorgio de Chirico, volume settimo, opere dal 1951 al 1974, Milan, 1983, no. 1025, illustrated

Catalogue Note

“Precisely the "pause in time" is suggested by metaphysical images that gradually build up an iconographic armory, unique and incomparable, a mixture of personal memories and ancestral symbols, of humor and tragedy, of tranquility and unease."
Claudio Strinati in Metaphysical Art, The De Chirico Journals, Fondazione Giorgio E Isa De Chirico, Florence, 2012, p. 26

Born in Volos, Greece, in an Italian family, Giorgio de Chirico grew up surrounded by antique imagery. Classical mythology, history and architecture were an endless source of imagination for the artist who frequently represented these recurring topics in contemporary settings. After a neoclassical then neo-baroque period, Giorgio de Chirico revisited the topics characteristic of his metaphysical period from the 20s, among which was his Italian piazza series. Started before WWI and picked up at different times of his career, it was a running source of inspiration for Giorgio de Chirico as he saw it as “the infinite possibilities of a finite collection of objects”. "(Michael R. Taylor, Giorgio de Chirico and the myth of Ariadne, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002, p. 133)

As one of the most emblematic images of Chirico’s art, Piazza d’Italia represents an enigmatic and desert urban environment where mysterious shadows emerge from the arcades as in a dream. Created in the 50s, the work resumes the main motifs of the series: a red tower, two anonymous characters conversing in the background, a male statue probably inspired by that of Giovanni Battista Bottero in Turin serving as the focal point of the composition, and arcades. A real fascination and obsession for the artist, the latter are structuring elements of the composition. This work tackles with a smooth touch De Chirico’s core ideas: classicism, modernity, time, melancholy, nostalgia and existence. Piazza d’Italia elegantly captures the atmosphere Ardengo Soffici described as that of Chirico’s painting: “Giorgio de Chirico renders like no one else the poignant melancholy of the end of a beautiful day in an old Italian town, with a train passing in the background of a quiet piazza, behind loggias, porticos and old monuments.” (Ardengo Soffici,'De Chirico e Savinio' à Lacerba, July 1, 1914, p. n.).

Collection Particulière Italienne : De Giovanni Fattori à Giorgio de Chirico