LONDON.- The exhibition, curated by Katherine Robinson, member of the scientific committee of the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation in Rome, has been divided into nine sections, each representing a different theme explored by the artist throughout his career: Italian Piazzas, Metaphysical Interiors, Portraits and Self-Portraits, Still Lifes, Mannequins, Horses and Horsemen, Gladiators, Mythology and Mysterious Baths. This unique exhibition and the accompanying scholarly catalogue include theoretical and critical essays, poems, prose and love letters, enabling visitors to find a new reading of de Chiricos famous works through his own words. The show also sheds light on the artists unusual artistic career, which began with the more radical and much admired metaphysical period and evolved into a more baroque, painterly style.
The show includes important loans such as the masterpiece The Revolt of the Sage, 1916 and one of the first drawings of the Piazze dItalia from the Estorick Collection in London. These key works are being exhibited alongside writings in de Chiricos own hand, including excerpts from Hebdomeros, a novel written by the artist in 1929 that reveals much of his creative universe. Other highlights include a 2.5 metre-long painting of Divinities by the Sea (1936) and a Nude from 1930, which Tornabuoni is proud to announce has recently been identified as a portrait of de Chiricos lover Cornelia.
Reading de Chirico is accompanied by an original scholarly catalogue, published by Forma Edizioni, Florence, and edited by Katherine Robinson with texts by Dr. Gavin Parkinson, Senior Lecturer in 20th century European Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and an expert in Surrealism. This publication includes a selection of the artists writings (1919-1945), among which two essays on Italian artists Gaetano Previati and Vicenzo Gemito have been translated into English for the very first time for the occasion.
Born in Volos, Greece, in 1888 of Italian parents, Giorgio de Chirico was encouraged to pursue drawing and painting from an early age. After studying at the Polytechnic school of Athens, de Chirico attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich from 1906 to 1909. He painted his first metaphysical work The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon in Florence in 1910. He exhibited for the first time in Paris in 1912 and met poet Guillaume Apollinaire and Paul Guillaume, his first art dealer. In Ferrara, during the First World War, he developed the Metaphysical Interior theme and met artists Carlo Carrà and Filippo de Pisis. His canvases proved popular with many Surrealist artists their eerie silence and dream-like quality resonating with the artistic ambitions of the Surrealists.
In the early 1920s, de Chirico focused his interest on painting technique and the Old Masters in Rome. He wrote numerous articles for art publications such Valori Plastici. De Chirico attracted criticism from the avant-garde art world as he adopted more a more traditional style and technique, painting mythological subjects and landscapes. He returned to Paris in 1925, where he developed themes such as the Archaeologists and the Gladiators. His change of style led the Surrealists to renounce him definitively.