Giorgio de Chirico

The Nostalgia of the Poet


This work belongs to a series of paintings of 1914 on the subject of the poet. Recurrent motifs in the sequence are the plaster bust with dark glasses, the mannequin, and the fish mold on an obelisk. These objects, bearing no evident relationships to one another, are compressed here into a narrow vertical format that creates a claustrophobic and enigmatic space. The use of inanimate forms imitating or alluding to human beings has complex ramifications. The sculpture at the lower left is a painted representation of a plaster cast from a stone, marble, or metal bust by an imaginary, or at present unidentified, sculptor. The fish is a charcoal drawing of a metal mold that could produce a baked “cast” of a fish made with an actual fish, with additional connotations as a religious symbol. The mannequin is a simplified cloth cast of a human figure. Each object, though treated as solid and static, dissolves in multiple significations and paradoxes. Such amalgams of elusive meaning in Giorgio de Chirico’s strangely intense objects compelled the attention of the Surrealists.

Not on View

Artist Giorgio de Chirico
Original Title La Nostalgie du poète
Date 1914
Medium Oil and charcoal on canvas
Dimensions 89.7 x 40.7 cm
Credit line Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
Accession 76.2553 PG 65
Collection Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Type Painting

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Not on View

Other artworks

Constantin Brancusi


ca. 1912

On view