“The metaphysical art work is serene in the aspect, yet it gives the impression that something new is about to happen in that same serenity, and that other signs, besides the already evident ones, are to enter the square of the canvas.
This is the symptom revealing the depth it inhabits.”
(Giorgio de Chirico, Sull’arte metafisica, 1919)
The highly anticipated anthological exhibition “De Chirico e la Metafisica”, opened to the public on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, by fully implementing safety measures like limited access, distancing and compulsory reservations.
The Fondazione Pisa is pleased to resume business and particularly to welcome visitors back at Palazzo Blu with an extraordinary exhibition putting art and culture at the service of society and its development, the mission of every cultural space. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to retrace the father of Metaphysical Art’s constantly evolving research.
The exhibit showcases the Pictor optimus’ work in a long journey through pictures and words, navigating departures and comebacks that left deep marks over the 20th century and that are still inspiring the new generations of artists today. An exhibition that allows to discover de Chirico with revelations shedding light on his enigmas, giving access to his labyrinthine proscenium.
One of the key elements of the project is the discovery of the artist’s personal collection, of the “de Chirico’s de Chiricos” that are the heart of this exhibit, mainly consisting of multiple pieces coming from the Galleria Nazionale in Rome – donated by the painter’s wife Isabella in 1987 – and from the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico.
In addition, thanks to the support of the Italian most prestigious modern art institutions like the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan and the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto (MART), the project brings many wonderful masterpieces to Palazzo Blu.
Organized by the Fondazione Pisa together with MondoMostre and curated by Saretto Cincinelli and Lorenzo Canova, with the collaboration of the Fondazione Giorgio e Isa de Chirico and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, the exhibition has the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Regione Toscana and the Municipality of Pisa. The exhibition catalogue has been published by Skira Editore.
The exhibition presents works from the artist’s entire prestigious career in chronological order, retracing the development of every phase and theme of de Chirico’s art. The exhibition path goes back to the first Böcklin-inspired works from the late 1910s to the decade of Metaphysical Art at its greatest; from the masterpieces of the 1920s’ classical period to the second-wave Metaphysical Art in Paris, to the Mysterious Baths Fountain from the thirties and the extraordinary research on painting by the great masters of the past, which can be found in still lives, nudes and self-portraits painted between the thirties and fifties, right to the bright last neo-metaphysical phase, which has recently raised great interest worldwide.
De Chirico imagines views of old cities overlapping modern urban visions inspired by places he actually lived in: first Volos and Athens, then Munich, Milan, Florence, Turin, Paris, Ferrara, New York, Venice and Rome.
In all these, the public spaces where humans have not settled are populated by objects – fragments, remains, arcs, colonnades, street corners, walls, buildings, towers, smokestacks, trains, statues and mannequins – which, outside their usual context, emerge in all their iconic power to become unreal, mysterious, enigmatic.
A powerful example of this can be found in the painting The Disquieting Muses, where de Chirico forever defines a conception of the world and humans’ relationship with reality. Metaphorically represented by the city of Ferrara, the world is a mix of things dominated by an illogic fate, an absurd mystery guarded by strict supervisors that only poetic imagination can penetrate.
Once overcome the idea that de Chirico’s genius was limited to the short time between 1910 and 1923, one can reread the whole development of his long research as a lucid, eclectic walkway across the halls of an ideal museum. Departing from a classical and romantic beginning inspired by Böcklin and Klinger, it leads to the Metaphysical Art, and after the post-war neo-baroque period, to a reinterpretation of himself and the new inspirations of this art itself.
In this progression, even his metaphysical period takes on a more organic significance than the remainder of his career, and it is thus totally coherent to define it as a “continuous Metaphysical Art”, as Maurizio Calvesi repeatedly has.
In this context, from the 1960s, de Chirico’s art has raised great interest in the young generations of artists. The various quotations and tributes that artists of the likes of Giulio Paolini and Andy Warhol have dedicated to de Chirico seem to support a novel, more conceptual vision of his whole art, finding a concealed, rigorous programmatic element and thoughtfully planned poetics in his self-referential research.
This exhibition also has the merit of throwing light on what we can now consider as the dissemination of the metaphysical vision, which was invented by de Chirico in 1910 and later bloomed in interpretations by great artists like Carrà, Savinio and de Pisis, as well as Sironi and Martini.
Featured in the exhibition with loaned works, these artists did not so much found a school or movement as they received and personally reinvented de Chirico’s powerful influence, which in the mid-1910s had already produced masterpieces that would be key to the 20th-century art, like the Italian squares, The Song of Love (1914) or The Soothsayer (1915).