Intérieur métaphysique avec ballon of 1960 is a reworking of an earlier painting entitled Le mauvais génie d'un roi of 1914-1915 and now in the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (see fig. 1). Depicting almost identical scenes in which the details are executed skilfully and painstakingly, this work differs only from the earlier version in that De Chirico has introduced a mannequin, known as the troubadour, behind the vertical board which divides the composition assymetrically. Thought to be "originally inspired by a play written by de Chirico's brother in which the main protagonist is a 'man without voice, without eyes or face'" (Exh. cat., Tate Gallery, On Classic Ground, London 1990, p. 81.) the troubadour was an important hallmark and recurring motif in his more carefully gauged and meditated compositions of later years. 'Hiding' behind the board, the troubadour; ".. is afraid of feeling in his back or his side the piercing arrow of a glance, even a benevolent one" (de Chirico as quoted in de Chrico by de Chirico, The New York Cultural Centre, New York, 1972).
Intérieur métaphysique avec ballon is one of the great paintings in a series of 'metaphysical' works where importance is given to the reallocation of reality and where the still life vocabulary is usually fantastic and based on intuition (knowledge preceding knowledge itself). De Chirico aimed to take commonplace objects and buildings out of their natural environment with the idea of suggesting a counter reality which would communicate with the subconscious mind. "The artist likes what reminds him of certain visions that he has in his mind and in his instincts, and which are his secret world that nobody can take away from him". (De Chirico as quoted in De Chirico by de Chirico, op.cit.).
Underlying the philosophy of the metaphysical still lifes was the writings of Nietzsche. In his complete works he writes: "Art is above all and first of all meant to embellish life, to make us to ourselves endurable...Hence art must conceal or transfigure everything that is ugly...A man who feels with himself a surplus of such powers of embellishment, concealment and transfiguration will finally seek to unburden himself of this surplus in works of art". (F. Nietzsche, Human, All-Too-Human, Part Two, pp. 91-92, from The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Dr. O. Levy, New York 1911.)