Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
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Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

Le figlie di Minosse (Scena antica in rosa e azzurro II)

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Le figlie di Minosse (Scena antica in rosa e azzurro II)
signed 'G. de Chirico' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21¾ x 29¾ in. (55.4 x 75.4 cm.)
Painted circa 1933
Leopoldo Tega, Milan.
Galleria Medea, Milan.
Calogero Calí, Milan.
Anonymous sale, Finarte Milan, 22-27 November 1997, lot 33.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. Bruni Sakraischik, Catalogo generale, Giorgio de Chirico, opere dal 1931 al 1950, vol. IV, Milan, 1977, no. 291 (illustrated).
I. Far & D. Porzio, Conoscere De Chirico: La vita e l'opera dell'inventore della pittura metafisica, Milan, 1979, no. 169 (illustrated p. 293).
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, I bagni misteriosi: De Chirico anni trenta, Milan, 1991, no. 28 (illustrated p. 211).
M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, De Chirico: Gli anni trenta, Milan, 1991, no. 28 (illustrated p. 211).
J. de Sanna (ed.), De Chirico and the Mediterranean, New York, 1998, no. 5 (illustrated pp. 88-89 and 246).
Cortina d'Ampezzo, Galleria d'Arte Medea, Giorgio de Chirico: L'immagine dell'infinito, August - September 1972, no. 10 (illustrated). This exhibition later travelled to Montecatini Terme, Internazionale-Galleria d'Arte Moderna, September 1972; Rome, Dimensione-Centro d'Arte, November 1972.
San Paolo, Museo Brasileiro da Escultura Marilisa Rathsam, Giorgio de Chirico: Pinturas e esculturas, March - April 1998, no. 46 (illustrated).
Verona, Galleria dello Scudo and Museo di Castelvecchio, De Chirico: gli anni Trenta, December 1998 - February 1999, no. 50 (illustrated p. 197).
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Lot Essay

Boecklin-like in its atmosphere of melancholy and longing, Le figlie di Minosse (Minos' Daughters) is part of an extensive series of enigmatic mythological coastal scenes that de Chirico painted in the late 1920s and early '30s. These paintings, which invoke both the mystery and timelessness of the antique world of classical mythology, form an important part of de Chirico's metaphysical painterly odyssey and usually take the form of horses riding along ancient Mediterranean beaches, abandoned temples and comic gladiators battling in strange landscapes or interiors. In this work de Chirico returns to one of the central themes of his metaphysical oeuvre, the myth of Ariadne, daughter of King Minos and lover and helper of Theseus in his penetrating of the King's labyrinth and the slaying of the Minotaur.

A stone statue of Ariadne appears in the centre of the town squares of many of de Chirico's greatest paintings. In this work, three stone-like maidens, languidly adorn the beach, seemingly waiting to be brought to life. Bathed in two-tone light of azure and rose that emphasizes the division between masculine and feminine, these rose maidens evoke a metaphysical sense of timeless classicism and melancholy that is a kind of counterbalance to one of de Chirico's favourite paintings, Arnold Boecklin's mysterious and powerful Odysseus and Calypso of 1883. In this painting, Odysseus, entrapped by his lover Calypso on the island Ogygia, stands, like a mysterious stone monument longingly looking out to sea, while she, also painfully aware of his destiny, anticipates the Greek hero's inevitable departure. In Le figlie di Minosse de Chirico's maidens similarly reside in contemplative languor by the infinite mystery of the ocean, seemingly awaiting the moment of revelation, enlightenment, completion or release brought the masculine hero. Classical monuments - so often de Chirico's symbols of masculinity, reason, logic and order - lie around these languid figures in ruins, prompting the question as to whether these mythological daughters are awaiting the arrival of the great hero or whether, in fact, he has already been and gone.

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