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Melancholy and the mystery of the street

Giorgio de Chirico • Painting, 1914, 87×71.5 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Style of art: Metaphysical painting
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1914
Size: 87×71.5 cm
Artwork in selections: 62 selections

Description of the artwork «Melancholy and the mystery of the street»

"Melancholy and the mystery of the street" - Painting by George de Chirico of 1914 - the very peak of the “metaphysical” period in his painting.

The protagonist of this picture is the city, but in its most unusual presentation. It is a city alien to human life, joy, there are no sounds and movements in it, nor is it empty, but full of mysterious values, frightening combinations. A snow-white arcade that goes into the horizon and is illuminated by an unusually bright light, as if tending upward, into a dark blue sky. The gloomy massive building on the right casts a dense shadow in which a lone carriage perched. The doors of the car are open, which allows you to see another angle, another space, already from the inside. The light and shadow here reach their absolute maximum, as in the hours of a sizzling midday sun.

“Melancholy and the mystery of the street” is another metaphysical urban landscape, permeated with clear, cutting lines and electric light. The only exception that de Chirico allowed himself in his surreal forms was the image of a living girl. The girl is not just alive - she runs as light silhouette as a hero of the theater of shadows, without color and volume, holding a hoop in her hands. She is unusually expressive and weightless, but at the same time a faint shadow at her feet convinces the viewer of the authenticity of what is happening. Perhaps in it lies the whole meaning of the metaphysical composition, which can be expressed in the words of de Chirico himself: "In the shadow of a man walking on a sunny day, there is more mystery than in all religions." Sliding parallel to the clear line cast by the building, it approaches another “dead” object - the shadow of the statue. According to the researcher D.T. Sobie, the running girl is a character borrowed by the author from the painting by J. Seurat "Sunday Day on the Island of Grand-Jatte".

Perspective is a separate topic in the philosophy of painting de Chirico. Like the old Russian iconographic technique, it distorts reality, allowing the viewer to be inside the picture, while also being outside it. Several planes on one canvas make the composition complete, complete and reinforce the feeling of a verified geometrical effect.

The painting is the most famous work of de Chirico. The author did some explanations of his work on his own in order to avoid incorrect speculations of critics.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva