Representing the juxtaposition of a classical bust with a still life of fruit against a typically metaphysical urban landscape, Omaggio a Giove ('Hommage to Jupiter') is a dramatic panoramic painting that explores the theme of cult offerings to Greek gods, which de Chirico had witnessed during his childhood in Greece.
Omaggio a Giove represents the dynamic conjunction of ripe fruit with a fragmentary relic of antiquity, set in a mysterious and enigmatic landscape, where, due to the coexistence of these seemingly contradictory elements, - ripe fruit and stale antiquity - time stands still. The painting depicts a subject which de Chirico returned to repeatedly in many forms from that of Aesculapius whose cult worship was particularly popular in the region of Thessaly, where de Chirico was born, to the cult of Apollo with which de Chirico and his alter-ego 'Hebdomeros' often identifed themselves.
In Omaggio a Giove de Chirico has used the head of the Otricoli Jupiter - a fragment from a Roman cult statue of Jupiter from the 1st century B.C., - as the focus of both the composition and of the cult offerings of fruit. The subject and the composition of the painting is based on one of de Chirico's most celebrated early metaphysical paintings (Il Sogno trasformato) ("The Transformed Dream") of 1913 (Saint Louis Museum of Art). Here however, the composition has been altered to create a fuller view that lends the composition more depth and stresses the correlation between the fruit and the marble head. This is particularly evident in the way in which the head of Jupiter is formally echoed in Omaggio a Giove by the pineapple standing next to it. With its more self-explanatory title and its altered persepective, it is clear that in this painting de Chirico has intended to demystify the sense of surrealist enigma of the earlier work, while still asserting the inherent mystery of its same metaphysical qualities.