Giorgio de Chirico in Rome, 1944-1978 is the first exhibition to examine the thematic continuities and dominant trends that mark de Chirico’s late career.
Co-organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation, Giorgio de Chirico in Rome investigates the crucial period that Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978) spent in the Italian capital from 1944 until his death in 1978. Bringing together approximately sixty paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, this exhibition is the first to examine the significance of de Chirico’s Roman environment in nurturing his mature painterly style. His beautiful and thought-provoking art from these years reveals a man engaged with his environment, a craftsman at the height of his powers, and a thinker whose artwork probed the mysteries of the universe.
The city of Rome had always inspired a sense of mystery and beauty in de Chirico, informing his career-long project to give visual form to the cultural and historical soul of Italy. He first lived in the capital after World War I, and when he permanently settled there in 1944 he was at the pinnacle of his career. Yet the Rome de Chirico returned to was vastly different than the city he knew before, as it was recently impacted by Fascist urbanism and the Nazi occupation as well as the devastating German and Allied bombing of 1943. A powerful tension between nostalgia and progress was pervasive, and de Chirico’s home and atelier, perched above the Piazza de Spagna, gave the artist a front row seat to participate in a society navigating these new circumstances.
Against this backdrop, he embarked upon a productive period of research in both the visual and literary arts. Over these thirty-four-years, he mined his own history as well as the mythologies and realities of the post-World War II city, bridging the humanist tradition with inventive aesthetics, the classicism of antiquity, the Renaissance and the Baroque ages with a commitment to exploring the enigma of the modern experience. Living and working in a city navigating many similar concerns, de Chirico created a dynamic visual and theoretical interplay of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper that reveal his continuous reflection on questions of art, existence, and identity.
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The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with new scholarship, edited by the exhibition’s curators.
Fabio Benzi is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the Gabriele d’Annunzio University in Chieti-Pescara. His publications include Balla. Genio Futurista (2007), Arte in Italia tra le due guerre (2013), and Giorgio de Chirico: La vita e l’opera (2019).
Katherine Robinson is the Scientific Coordinator of Metaphysical Art – The de Chirico Journals. She has curated numerous exhibitions and published widely on de Chirico. She is the editor of Reading de Chirico (2017).
This exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation, Rome.