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

Il trovatore

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Il trovatore
signed ' Chirico' (lower right); signed again and inscribed 'Opera autentica da me eseguita. In fede Giorgio de Chirico' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
21½ x 13¾ in. (54.6 x 35.1 cm.)
Painted in 1935
Silvano Menghelli, Florence.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 1 July 1975, lot 50.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
C. Bruni Sakraischik, Catalogo Generale Giorgio de Chirico, vol. VI, Opere dal 1931 al 1950, Milan, 1972, no. 452 (illustrated).
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Summer Loan Exhibition, 1967.
Special notice
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

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Lot Essay

Painted in 1935, Il trovatore (The Troubadour) recalls the great series of mannequins that de Chirico began to paint in 1917 during the height of the First World War, depicting a wandering, lonely figure lost and isolated in the emptiness of a strange melancholic town square. These themes reflect de Chirico's situation at this time in Ferrara, when, on leave of absence from the army, he was awaiting his recall to military duty. Implicit within these paintings is the satirical notion of the human being as a mere empty-headed automaton, a mechanical robot fulfilling his role in a bizarre mechanical universe. Unlike the Berlin dadaists, who soon took up this theme as a means of criticizing the brutality of authority, de Chirico's transmutation of the human into a dummy or a mechanical object is no satirizing of man's slave-like obedience to the powers that be, but rather a psychological portrait. For him, the impossible angles and geometry of the constructions that form these strange wooden constructed figures are architectural elements that attempt to map and outline the contours of the poetic soul. Their very physical impossibility demonstrates the everyday world as a façade. Trapped, bound and encumbered by all the props and artifice of physical construction, the sad, lone, travelling poet that de Chirico presents in this painting is one that hints at an alternate reality at the same time as it criticises the density and clumsiness of ours.

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