Giorgio de Chirico

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portrait of De Chirico in 1935

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.

Quotes[edit]

On Mystery and Creation, Paris 1913[edit]

On Mystery and Creation, Giorgio de Chirico, written in Paris, 1913

  • 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.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p . 231
  • 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.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p . 232
  • Profound statements must be drawn by the artist from the most secret recesses of his being; there no murmuring torrent, no birdsong, no rustle of leaves can distract him.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p . 232
  • What I hear is valueless; only what I see is living, and when I close my eyes my vision is even more powerful.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p . 232
  • 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.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 232
  • I remember one vivid winter’s day at Versailles. Silence and calm reigned supreme,. Everything gazed at me with mysterious, questioning eyes. And then I realized that every corner of the palace, every column, every window possessed a spirit, an impenetrable soul. I looked around at the marble heroes, motionless in the lucid air, beneath the frozen rays of that winter sun which pours down on us 'without love', like perfect song.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 232
  • The structure of cities, the architecture of houses, squares, gardens, public walks, gateways, railway stations, etc – all these provide us with the basic principles of a great Metaphysical aesthetic.. .We, who live under the sign of the Metaphysical alphabet, we know the joy and sorrows to be found in a gateway, a street corner, a room, on the surface of a table, between the sides of a box…
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 233
    • his statement on Metaphysical aesthetic in painting motifs like houses, architecture, railway stations
  • Perfect knowledge of the space an object should occupy in a picture, and of the space that separates one object from another, establishes a new astronomy of things attached to our planet by the magic law of gravity. Canons of the Metaphysical aesthetic lie in the minutely-accurate and precisely-estimated use of surfaces and volumes.. ..We are building in paint a new Metaphysical psychology of things.
    • as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Ghiberti to Gainsborough, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 233
  • 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) is like the story of a poetic and romantic hunt. (1919)
    • as quoted in Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, p. 440
  • Everything has two aspects: the current aspect, which we see nearly always and which ordinary men see, and the ghostly and metaphysical aspect, which only rare individuals may see in moments of clairvoyance and metaphysical abstraction. (1919)
    • as quoted in 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)
    • as quoted in Artists on Art – from the 14th – 20th centuries, ed. by Robert Goldwater and Marco Treves; Pantheon Books, 1972, London, pp. 440-441

External links[edit]

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