Giorgio de Chirico

Lessons Giorgio de Chirico Has Taught Me About Art

1. Make enigmatic pictures

My paintings are small (the biggest is 50 x 70 cm), but each of them is an enigma, each contains a poem, an atmosphere (Stimmung) and a promise that you can not find in other paintings. It brings me immense joy to have painted them – when I exhibit them, possibly in Munich this spring, it will be a revelation for the whole world.

2. Visions and dreams

How to make immortal pictures:

To become truly immortal a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere. But once these barriers are broken it will enter the regions of childhood vision and dream.

3. Hold immense faith in yourself

It is most important that we should rid art of all that it has contained of ‘recognizable material’ to date, all familiar subject matter, all traditional ideas, all popular symbols must be banished forthwith. More important still, we must hold enormous faith in ourselves; it is essential that the revelation we receive, the conception of an image which embraces a certain thing, which has no sense in itself, which has no subject, which means ‘absolutely nothing’ from the logical point of view.. ..should speak so strongly in us, evoke such agony or joy, that we feel compelled to paint.

4. The importance of architecture

Among the many senses that modern painters have lost, we must number the sense of architecture. The edifice accompanying the human figure, whether alone or in a group, whether in a scene from life or in an historical drama, was a great concern of the ancients. They applied themselves to it with loving and severe spirit, studying and perfecting the laws of perspective. A landscape enclosed in the arch of a portico or in the square or rectangle of a window acquires a greater metaphysical value, because it is solidified and isolated from the surrounding space. Architecture completes nature. (1920)

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