Chirico’s gloomy melancholy

The previous epistle by Vig has reminded me Jungian Aniela Jaffé’s article ‘Symbolism in the visual arts’ in Man and his Symbols, where she wrote the following about the Italian Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings:

‘They are dreamlike transpositions of reality, which arise as visions from the unconscious. But his “metaphysical abstraction” is expressed in panic-stricken rigidity, and the atmosphere of the pictures is one of nightmare and fathomless melancholy. The city squares of Italy, the towers and objects, are set in an over-acute perspective, as if they were in a vacuum, illuminated by a merciless, cold light from an unseen source. Antique heads or statues of gods conjure up the classical past…

In Chirico’s Song of love the marble head of the goddess and the rubber glove are crass opposites. The green ball seems to act as a uniting symbol…

Some of his pictures are extremely disturbing; many are as terrifying as nightmares. But in his effort to find artistic expression for the void, he penetrated to the core of the existential dilemma of contemporary man…

Chirico never came to a solution of the problem presented to him by the unconscious. His failure may be seen most clearly in his representation of the human figure. Given the present religious situation, it is man himself to whom should be accorded a new, if impersonal, dignity and responsibility’.

Published in: on June 21, 2019 at 8:47 am  Comments (1)  

One Comment

  1. In the previous entry, I linked to de Chirico’s 1st-page painting collection on this site. But there’s a second page that contains ‘Mistero e melanconia di una Strada’ (1914): the most visited de Chirico painting on this blog according to my stats page.


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