Tuesday 12 May 2009

Melancholy and Mystery of a Street

There is, for me, something deeply unsettling about the paintings of Gorgio de Chirico, particularly those of his so-called ‘Metaphysical Period.’ They are full of sun and light, beautiful studies of the streets, loggias and piazzas of Italian cities, places like Turin, where Nietzsche, the artist’s favourite thinker, completed his best work. But there is something more, a deeps sense of melancholy and threat, in places almost completely devoid of people. This sense of the sinister, the sense that something terrible is about to happen, is nowhere better illustrated than in his Melancholy and Mystery of a Street. Who is the figure in the background, the shadow, waiting for the little girl, playing on her own? Is it someone she knows? Is it something else? One’s sense of foreboding is heightened, never to be released.

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