317
317

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Giorgio de Chirico
PIAZZA D'ITALIA
JUMP TO LOT
317

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Giorgio de Chirico
PIAZZA D'ITALIA
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Giorgio de Chirico
1888 - 1978
PIAZZA D'ITALIA
signed G. de Chirico (lower left); signed Giorgio de Chirico and titled on the reverse
oil on canvas
60 by 80cm., 23 5/8 by 31 1/2 in.
Painted in the early 1960s.
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico.

Provenance

Private Collection, Turin
Private Collection, Milan (sale: Sotheby’s, London, 16th October 2009, lot 8)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Exhibited

Francavilla al Mare, Museo Michetti, Palazzo San Domenico, La famiglia de Chirico. I geni della pittura, 2006, no. 12, illustrated in the catalogue
Castelbasso, Borgo Medievale, Giorgio de Chirico. Mito e mistero, 2008, no. 63, illustrated in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Piazza d’Italia forms part of one of Giorgio de Chirico’s most iconic series of Metaphysical paintings, in which a curious collection of symbols and objects are juxtaposed within the setting of a quiet Italian square. Within the present composition, two male figures are seen towards the background, but with their bodies oddly scaled-down in comparison to the architecture and to the large statue. The centre of the square is occupied by the statue of a man, seen from the back and casting a long, dramatic shadow. According to James Thrall Soby, this frock-coated figure was most probably inspired by the statue of the philosopher Giovanni Battista Bottero, situated in Largo Quattro Marzo in Turin (James Thrall Soby, Giorgio de Chirico, New York, 1955, p. 70). The artist was fascinated with the city's famous arcades, which form the main lines of perspective in the present composition, as well as with its large, melancholic squares usually occupied by statues or equestrian monuments.

De Chirico first explored the motif of the Piazza around 1913 and 1914 in works such as The Enigma of a Day, currently in The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the artist continued to return to this fundamental theme throughout his career, finding constant inspiration, as Michael Taylor suggests, in ‘the infinite possibilities of a finite set of objects’ (Michael R. Taylor, Giorgio de Chirico and the myth of Ariadne (exhibition catalogue), Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002, p. 133). Dating from the 1960s, the present work incorporates all the primary motifs which were of major significance within the Piazza d’Italia paintings: the majestic tower which dominates the square, the train glimpsed in the background, the two figures greeting each other, and, omnipresent, the marble statue which serves as the focal point of the composition. Ultimately Piazza d’Italia elegantly conveys the elegiac mood which Ardengo Soffici attributed to these works: ‘Giorgio de Chirico expresses as no one else has 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, porticos, and monuments to the past, a train chugs […] or a soaring factory chimney sends smoke into the cloudless sky’ (Ardengo Soffici, ‘De Chirico e Savinio’, in Lacerba, 1st July 1914, translated from the Italian).

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