Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION
Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

Piazza d'Italia

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Piazza d'Italia
signed 'g. de Chirico' (lower left)
oil on canvas
15 ¾ x 19 ¾ in. (40 x 50.1 cm.)
Painted in the late 1940s
Galleria Schettini, Milan.
Gaooeria d'Arte Selezione, Milan.
Galleria dell'Annunciata, Milan, by 1959.
Private collection, Rome, by whom acquired by 1970; sale, Bertolami Fine Art, Rome, 3 June 2014, lot 145.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico, ed., Giorgio de Chirico, Catalogo generale, Opere dal 1912 al 1972, vol. 2/2015, Rome, 2014, no. 641, p. 202 (illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Giorgio de Chirico invokes the magic and mystery of his childhood in Greece through the strange conjunction of classical fragments, marble statues and mundane objects drawn from the modern world. The present Piazza d'Italia, echoes de Chirico’s early Ariadne series, such as La ricompensa dell’indovino of 1913 (Philadelphia Museum of Art) by centring the composition of the painting on the strangely animate encounter between a classical statue of Ariadne and other objects, such as the modern brick wall and the steam train in silhouette. There is an overt pictorial play between the animate and the lifeless within the picture. A hauntingly beautiful, but lifeless classical stone statue depicting a living human figure is contrasted with other inanimate but luminescent and, in pictorial terms, lively, elements and objects such as the illuminated tower, the distant couple and the puff of steam against the dark green night sky.
Piazza d’Italia displays the enigmatic dreamlike quality that de Chirico often bestowed upon Mediterranean antiquity, speaking of the fundamental 'mystery and melancholy' of human existence through the ages. Ariadne, the abandoned princess of Greek mythology, appeared in his work throughout his career, an ever-constant monument to loneliness and exile. The Piazza d’Italia series display a pervasive sense of a crisis of modernity conveyed in his pictorial articulation of a strange or disjunctive antiquity. In addition, like Willhelm Jensen's story of Gradiva which so obsessed André Breton and many other Surrealists' imaginations, there is always in de Chirico’s evocation of the antique a sense of mystic continuity between past and present. A sense that, not only is the fragmented and broken nature of the past somehow also a fundamental reflection of the disjointed nature of the contemporary world of the present, but also that, beyond and between these two temporal eras, there stretches another wider and unexplored landscape of lyrical mystery and enduring power.

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