29 May 2011

The enigmatic poet of Nostalgia and Melancholia:Giorgio De Chirico; Part II

Click here for part I  of De Chirico the enigmatic poet.

In Paris from 1911 until the outbreak of the First World War Giorgio de Chirico developed his ‘metaphysical painting’.  Those artworks are very enigmatic, self-consciously enigmatic. There is lots of inspiration and influence from mythology, philosophy, Freudian psychoanalysis and probably his own experience. De Chirico was born in Greece in 1888 from Italian parents. He was born in the city of Volos, an ancient mythological city, the city where the expedition and the adventure of Jason and the Argonauts search for the Golden Fleece began.  De Chirico identified himself with the gallant heroes of old Greece, and especially with Odysseus; I assume for his symbolic meaning: imagination and allegory.

Most of De Chirico's paintings from 1911 until 1917 are very sad, I would say. There is almost a feeling of no familiarity, a feeling of something inexplicably unpleasant, and a feeling of mysterious melancholy. Without any doubt they are great in a strange way. There is lots of feeling of the ancient past, lots of meeting between words, objects, architecture, history, and the sound of silence, the weirdness of the perspective, persons, the imagination, and fantasy. It is a perfect, beautiful match between a poet and an artist.

There is one painting I absolutely adore.  I didn’t see it in the flesh unfortunately. Maybe if I had, my perception of it would be different.  It is ‘The Disquieting Muses’ from 1916.

The Disquieting Muses - oil on canvas, 1916
In the background appears the Castello Estense or the Castle of Saint Michele of Ferrara. Ferrara was considered by De Chirico as a metaphysical city.  In the centre of the painting are two tailors’ dummies, waiting for something unexpected, for someone to rescue them from the nostalgia, thinking about a glorious past, talking to their own unconscious. Who knows? Moreover the answer isn’t important at all, what is important is the melancholically beautiful poetry of De Chirico's imagination.

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