In my class, Modern Art, we had a paper and a presentation to do on a modern artist that we found interesting. I looked up many artists and I found Giorgio de Chirico very interesting, mostly because of how his painting style changed after the year 1919. The scholarly article I did my paper and presentation on is called Giorgio de Chirico. Philadelphia and London by Simonetta Fraquelli. The article was about his work about the Greek myth of Ariadne. One of the many versions of this myth is:
Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos of Crete and Queen Pasiphae. She helps her lover, Theseus, an Athenian hero, escape the Labyrinth by supplying him with a golden thread. During his escape he slays Minotauros. After he escapes, they go to the island of Naxos where he then abandons her while she sleeps. In her grief, she meets and marries the a wine-god, Dionysus.
The works that the article focused on was, The Soothsayer’s Recompense, 1917, Piazza d’Italia, 1949, Melancholia, 1912, Solitude, 1917, Ariadne Abandoned (Bather in the Sun), 1930-1931.
He repeats multiple elements in his paintings; a sculpture of Ariadne sleeping in a piazza, the sun setting or rising, columned buildings, and a train or a boat in the distance. The element of a train or boat represents Theseus leaving or Dionysus arriving.
The author has many questions in the article and so do I. Some of these questions are, why are the paintings Melancholia and The Soothsayer’s Recompense have a matt surface, no reflection of light, and the colors are dull? While, Piazza d’Italia has a glossy varnish, think colors, and assertive black lines. Is this difference between these Ariadne paintings of his was to make his newer paintings, Piazza d’Italia, more ‘desirable’ to people so de Chirico could get financial gain?
I really liked this article and Giorgio de Chirico is now a new favorite artist of mine. I would love to see this collection in person and see the differences between his paintings for myself.
All photos taken from the article Giorgio de Chirico. Philadelphia and London by Simonetta Fraquelli