Piazza d'Italia (Autumn Melancholy)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Piazza d'Italia (Autumn Melancholy)[1] is a 1913 painting by Giorgio de Chirico. It is probably his best-known work.

De Chirico made his first paintings of his Piazza d'Italia paintings in 1912 and 1913 while in Turin. They were a series of eight works, most of them featuring classical statue of a recumbent Ariadne[2] as a prop in 1912.

The collection of paintings, depicting Ariadne in a deserted piazza, was the object of 2003 exhibit by the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Giorgio de Chirico was perhaps the first painter to reappraise Ovid after Romanticism and French Realism.

The Piazza d'Italia in combination with Ariadne would occupy a prominent place in his work until the 1970s.

"architectural spaces of Turin, such as the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and the Piazza Carignano, as well as the Piazza Carlo Alberto, can be discerned in the eight Ariadne paintings, with their long shadows and strange perspectives." --Giorgio De Chirico and the Myth of Ariadne by Michael Taylor, Matthew Gale and Guigone Rolland.
"The Piazza d'Italia is the most frequent subject and repeated theme in de Chirico's oeuvre. Deriving from a series of metaphysical paintings depicting a statue of Ariadne set amidst the dark shadowy arcades of a Turin piazza that the artist painted between 1912 and 1913, the Piazza d'Italia are meditative mandala-like variations on a theme that lies at the heart of the artist's complex aesthetic and lifelong journey of philosophical discovery.
Numbering well over a hundred variants featuring Ariadne's sculpture alone, the Piazza d'Italia, with their melancholic evening shadows, 'ideal' architecture and strange angular perspective, exist in three distinct types: one with a fountain at its centre, one with the statue of Ariadne and one with a statue of a man in coat tails seen from the back - a monument to the 'political man'. According to de Chirico scholar Paolo Baldacci, their themes correspond to the subjects of the flux of time, feminine intuition and masculine creativity respectively. All rooted in the myth of Ariadne, the symbolism of all these variants, known under the title Piazza d'Italia was based on a synthesis of Greek mythology, Nietzschean philosophy and de Chirico's own life and experience." --Christies[3]

See also

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