Giorgio de Chirico

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Giorgio de Chirico (July 10, 1888November 20, 1978), often known as Népo, was an influential pre-Surrealist Italian painter born in Volos, Greece to a Genovese mother and a Sicilian father. He founded the scuola metafisica art movement.

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  • It is most important that we should rid art of all that it has contained of ‘recognizable material’ to date, all familiar subject matter, all traditional ideas, all popular symbols must be banished forthwith. More important still, we must hold enormous faith in ourselves; it is essential that the revelation we receive, the conception of an image which embraces a certain thing, which has no sense in itself, which has no subject, which means ‘absolutely nothing’ from the logical point of view… …should speak so strongly in us, evoke such agony or joy, that we feel compelled to paint...
    • 'On Mystery and Creation', Giorgio de Chirico, Paris 1913, as quoted in "Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough", Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, p . 232
  • To become truly immortal a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken it will enter the regions of childhood vision and dream.
    • 'On Mystery and Creation', Giorgio de Chirico, Paris 1913, as quoted in "Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough", Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, p . 231
  • Perhaps the most amazing sensation passed on to us by prehistoric man is that of presentiment. It will always continue. We might consider it as an eternal proof of the irrationality of the universe. Original man must have wandered through a world full of uncanny signs. He must have trembled at each step.
    • Quotations from ‘On Mystery and Creation’, Giorgio de Chirico, Paris 1913, as quoted in ”Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough -”, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson , London, 1963, p . 232
  • A work of art must narrate something that does not appear within its outline. The objects and figures represented in it must likewise poetically tell you of something that is far away from them and also of what their shapes materially hide from us. A certain dog painted by Courbet (French 19th century painter, ed.) is like the story of a poetic and romantic hunt. (1919)
    • "Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries", ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 440
  • Among the many senses that modern painters have lost, we must number the sense of architecture. The edifice accompanying the human figure, whether alone or in a group, whether in a scene from life or in an historical drama, was a great concern of the ancients. They applied themselves to it with loving and severe spirit, studying and perfecting the laws of perspective. A landscape enclosed in the arch of a portico or in the square or rectangle of a window acquires a greater metaphysical value, because it is solidified and isolated from the surrounding space. Architecture completes nature. (1920)
    • "Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries", ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, pp. 440-441

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  • My paintings are small but each one is an enigma
  • ...and what shall I love if not the enigma.
  • One must paint all the phenomena of the world as an enigma.
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