Sections

 
 

The Nature of Myth
The fresh, distant breath of mythology, the immense countenances of the Olympian deities gazing without seeing beyond the horizon and the constructions of mankind, with that charming yet ineffably ambiguous expression of those who know that there is nothing to know...
Giorgio de Chirico

Nature, transfigured in a mythical key, is perceived as the scenario for universal archetypes. The figures evoked in the pictures in this section - be they from mythology (the Centaurs, Apollo, Minerva, Asclepius, Orpheus and Ariadne), from the Bible (the Prodigal Son) or from historic legends (Lucretia) - become symbols of the great civilising force of culture, victorious over the disorder of Nature.


The Nature of Shadow
Enclosed within the arches of a portico or within the square or rectangle of a window, the landscape acquires greater Metaphysical value because it is fixed and isolated from its surrounding space. Architecture completes Nature. This is a progress of the human intellect in the field of Metaphysical discoveries.
Giorgio de Chirico

In de Chirico's paintings, urban space is determined in equal measure by the architectural volumes within the composition, as by the solid, unreal shadows cast by architectural forms outside the picture, which loom into view on the ground in pure geometric planes.
A precursor of daring constructive experimentations, de Chirico is an extraordinary architect of hallucinatory and absurd cityscapes. The architectural style 'invented' by the artist is also a place of absence, a purely cerebral dimension in which Nature is confined to a Metaphysical 'elsewhere' that is never revealed.


Interior Nature
My room is a beautiful vessel where I can embark on adventurous voyages worthy of an impenitent explorer.
Giorgio de Chirico

Even the obvious space of a room offers the possibility of new visions.
This section highlights that particular 'short circuit' that the artist provokes in the eyes of the viewer by mixing natural spaces with constructed spaces.
Familiar objects from everyday life, such as armchairs and cupboards, are displaced under an open sky in natural, mythical or primordial settings, where they appear as apparitions of an almost sacred quality. Vice versa, in other compositions rocks, trees and streams are domesticated ad absurdum inside a room, thus unleashing a sense of psychological 'vertigo' and estrangement in the viewer.


Anti-Nature
To completely suppress the idea of mankind as a guide or means for expressing symbols, sensations and thoughts. To free painting once and for all from the anthropomorphism that suffocates sculpture. To see every thing, even mankind, for its essential quality as a thing.
Giorgio de Chirico

In this section the ambivalence between "natural" and "artificial" shifts from inanimate structures to the human body. Products of a world marked by the race for technological progress, even the body tends to progressively develop into an object that lacks a clear identity, fluctuating as an intermediate organism whose ambiguity is highlighted by the artist in his famous automatons: mannequins, thinkers and archaeologists or rather, anti-natural hybrid figures who speak to us about our way of being in the world, of our hybrid nature as thinking, feeling machines.


The Nature of Things
We who are familiar with the signs of the Metaphysical alphabet know the joy and the pain enclosed within a portico, a street corner, a room, on the surface of a table or between the flanks of a box. (...) The absolute awareness of the space an object must occupy within a painting and of the space that separates objects one from the other - dictates a new astronomy of things.
Giorgio de Chirico

With the Metaphysical Interiors, we embark upon a progressive descent into rooms within rooms and paintings within paintings, like Chinese boxes, in a potentially infinite succession that manifests the enigma of things and the mystery of space and time. Elaborate geometric assemblages that assume the value of contemporary totems: trophies, clever gadgets and toys, of which de Chirico the commendable inventor.


Open Nature
Once (...) I happened to be in a house where the floors had been waxed to a high polish. I watched a gentleman walking in front of me whose legs reflected in the floor. I had the impression that he could sink into that floor, like into a swimming pool and that he could move and even swim in it. Then I imagined strange pools with men immersed in a kind of water-parquet, who stood still and moved, and at times stopped moving to converse with other men who were outside the pavement-swimming pool.
Giorgio de Chirico

Nature "opened-up" or revealed through its basic elements: the constituent materials of Nature and the rules that govern it are taken apart, reorganized and given new form through de Chirico's art. By transforming water into water-parquet, the Mysterious Baths theme focuses upon the mystery of the physical element. While the Sun on the Easel (1973) celebrates the immensity of the Universe and the metamorphosis of energy and matter, La Surprise (1914) orchestrates a new "recipe" of the physical matter of the world through the primal elements of reality: air, fire, earth and water.


Living Nature
Mankind's yearning to be close to Natureis clearly brought about by memories (...) perhaps from those dark times when man, almost an animal, was happier in his primitive life and connected to nature in a complete way.Or perhaps his memories go even further back, from a blurred recollection of the Earthly Paradise that he has lost (...). Or perhaps it is a presentiment of a future paradise that drives man towards Nature (...) which presents itself to the human soul through presentiments or memories, as good, beautiful, perfect and forgiving.
Giorgio de Chirico

This final section deals with a theme that de Chirico held dear: the theme of art literally 'enlivening' Nature. The traditional still-life genre known in Italian as "natura morta" is transformed to "vita silente" or "silent life" (closer to the English term "still-life" or the German "Stilleben") and becomes charged with primordial vitality, which breathes life force back into Nature. The interior life of the object - its "silent life" - is magnified by the artist, and reawakened thus, it enters into a dynamic relation with the landscape in which it has been placed where it acts as a kind of threshold between the real and the metaphysical worlds.

 


     
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