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Antike im Futur: The Reception of Antiquity and Classical Mythology in the Works of Giorgio de Chirico

Stephanie Schlörb | Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg

Giorgio de Chirico: Self-portrait with bust of Mercury, 1923, Tempera/canvas, 65 x 50 cm. Private Collection

The works of Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978) demonstrate an intimate link between his artistic world and classical antiquity; in his written works he distinguishes between the Greek and Roman realms. This first component of this project seeks to investigate the presence and origin of the white marble figures, mythological figures and temple-like architecture in his painting, which are widely interpreted as having originated from the classical world. Close reading reveals that many of these allegedly antique motifs were actually rooted in other sources. Its second component will aim to analyse the concepts of Mythos, Mythen and Mythenbild in relation to the artworks and writings of and around de Chirico. From very early on in his life, de Chirico used motifs and themes from classical antiquity and corresponding mythology as a way to construct and consolidate the myths surrounding him as an artist. This dissertation will attempt to illuminate the motivations behind de Chirico’s abiding use of myth and imagery in his work. By revisiting the concept of Mythos and through the derivation of a de Chiricoesque terminology, this dissertation seeks to shed new light on the enigmatic iconography and understanding of de Chirico's pittura metafisica.

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