Magical Reality of Giorgio de Chirico at Hamburger Kunsthalle

July 22, 2020

During the first decade of the 20th century, the Italian art scene was thriving as the avant-garde tendencies started emerging. In 1910, just one year after the Futurists became active, another and equally influential movement appeared and that was Metaphysical art founded by the bold experimenter Giorgio de Chirico.

To cast a new light on the formative years which he shared with Carlo Carrà, Giorgio Morandi and his brother, the composer Alberto Savinio to established a new painterly paradigm of Pittura metafisica, the Hamburger Kunsthalle decided to organize an astonishing exhibition called DE CHIRICO: Magical Reality.

Giorgio de Chirico - Dying Centaur
Giorgio de Chirico - Dying Centaur (Centaure mourant), 1909. Oil on canvas, 118 x 75 cm. Assicurazioni Generali © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Photo: © Assicurazioni Generali

The Impact of A Groundbreaking Art Practice

Giorgio de Chirico was an artist profoundly inspired by the European cultural influences that spanned from the Greek myths to German philosophy - the works of Friedrich Nietzsche caught his attention most - as well as the light and space typical for the Italian piazzas, the French avant-garde in Paris, and his military service in Ferrara.

In the wake of World War I, de Chirico reduced his aesthetic by focusing on primary geometrical shapes carefully arranged in enigmatic scenes aimed to depict the invisible, another nature of reality. The haunting atmosphere of his impeccably executed paintings evoked the feeling of isolation and stillness.

Unlike the brutality of Futurism, de Chirico’s metaphysical art was more peaceful and contemplative, eager to tackle different philosophical subjects and test optical possibilities of modern painting that was both abstract and figurative.

Giorgio de Chirico - The child's brain
Giorgio de Chirico - The child's brain (Le Cerveau de l'enfant), 1914. Oil on canvas, 80 x 65 cm. Moderna Museet, Stockholm © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Photo: © Moderna Museet / Stockholm

Magical Reality

The visitors will have a unique chance to experience over sixty masterpieces by de Chirico, Carlo Carrà, Giorgio Morandi, Alberto Magnelli, Alexander Archipenko, and others.

The exhibition will also show the extraordinary parallels between de Chirico’s works and the ones made by the German and Swiss symbolist painters Max Klinger and Arnold Böcklin. The installment will consist of loaned works that will be assembled from leading international museums, private collections worldwide, and gems from the museum’s own collection.

Giorgio de Chirico - The Prophet
Giorgio de Chirico - The Prophet (Le Vaticinateur), 1914/15. Oil on canvas, 89.6 x 70.1 cm. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, James Thrall Soby Estate © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Photo: © The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence

Giorgio de Chirico at Hamburger Kunsthalle

Finally, the upcoming show tends to underline De Chirico’s revolutionary pictorial language that made a huge influence on the later generation of artists and looking from contemporary perspective functioned as a prelude to Surrealism. Furthermore, the layers of meaning behind his extraordinary images can be analyzed in regards to virtual reality that often seems bewildering and haunting.

DE CHIRICO: Magical Reality will be on display at Hamburg Kunsthalle from 22 January to 25 April 2021.

Featured image: Giorgio de Chirico - The fortune teller's wages (La Récompense du dévin), 1913. Oil on canvas, 135.6 x 180 cm. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019 / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome. Photo: © Philadelphia Museum of Art, Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950. All images courtesy Hamburger Kunsthalle.

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