Ardengo Soffici, de Chirico's first Italian critic, observed: "The painting of de Chirico is not painting, in the sense that we use that word today. It could be defined as a writing down of dreams. By means of almost infinite rows of arches and facades, he truly succeeds in expressing that sensation of vastness, of solitude, of immobility, of stasis which certain sights reflected by the state of memory sometimes produce in our mind, just at the point of sleep. Giorgio de Chirico expresses as no one else has ever done the poignant melancholy of the close of a beautiful day in an old Italian city where, at the back of a lonely piazza, beyond the setting of loggias, porticoes, and monuments to the past, a train chugs, the delivery van of a large department store is parked, or a soaring factory chimney sends smoke into the cloudless sky" (Ardengo Soffici, De Chirico e Savinio, quoted in Joan M. Lukach, "De Chirico and Italian Art Theory, 1915-1920" in De Chirico (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1982, p. 37).
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