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DE CHIRICO: The Metaphysical Period Hardcover – May 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: A Bulfinch Press Book / Little, Brown and Company (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821224999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821224991
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,495,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The warm colors and familiar icons in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico are deceptively soothing. The varying lines of perspective, blurring of indoor and outdoor space, and the coupling of ancient images with turn-of-the-century industry are both vaguely familiar and certainly disconcerting, evocative of being lost in a city or wandering through a stranger's home. Vacant plazas, shadowy arcades, and lonely statues are the eerie edges of dreams that are lost in the morning. Even de Chirico's most standard still lifes are ambient and consuming.

De Chirico's complete early work, that of his "metaphysical period," is gathered in this generously sized volume from Bulfinch Press. The work from museums and private collections from around the world illustrates critical exposition as well as exhaustive documentation (three pages of notes for a 20-page chapter) of de Chirico's training and production. The catalog overflows with color entries and black-and-white supplementary illustrations of family, friends, places, influential works, and drawing studies that contributed to the evolution of the painter and his masterpieces. The book's author, Paolo Baldacci, writes in his introduction that "practically all of the paintings executed from 1908-09 to the summer of 1914 are fundamental for understanding the various phases of de Chirico's aesthetic development. The works of these crucial years, rich in symbolism and dense with thought, cast in pictorial form a vast conception of the world, of life, and of art drawn from de Chirico's intensive reading of Nietzsche, Leopardi, Schopenhauer, and Heraclitus." --Manine Golden

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William Kersten on November 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is on the highest level of scholarship and aesthetic criticism, bringing together many facets of art, philosophy and literature that gave birth to de Chirico's great works. Paolo Baldacci is a brilliant and erudite writer and an expert on this important, original artist. I am very disappointed that this excellent work is now out of print. The reproductions are of the highest quality as well, and this is a book that should be on the shelf of everyone interested in surrealism.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More than its many full-color and good-sized reproductions of the great artist's best paintings, this book also offers much fascinating text to illuminate the many influences that shaped the life and work of this supreme creator of enigmatic clarities.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Captain Cook on January 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
True surrealism is the most profound form of art because it tackles the absurdities and contradictions of our modern world and helps us to work them out through our Subconsciousness and dreams. The first time I saw an exhibition of de Chirico's works, I had extremely vivid and memorable dreams for a week after and felt "cured."
But like any religion that can deeply touch people, Surrealism, once it became famous also attracted its fair share of quacks and charlatans. This is why de Chirico is so important: In the same way that Patti Smith was 'punk' before Punk Rock was officially invented, de Chirico was a surrealist before the Surrealist Movement took conscious shape with Andre Breton's shrill "Manifesto of Surrealism" in 1924. De Chirico didn't jump on the bandwagon. He was pulling it!
This worthy but pricey (therefore minus a couple of stars) book focuses on this early period when de Chirico was happily pursuing his own path into the twilight, undisturbed by the excessive fuss that the Surrealist movement and its showmen, like Dali, later whipped up.
Paintings like "The Endless Voyage" (1914) show a jarring clutter of objects setting up intangible lines of tension, often with humorous results. In effect, his art works like the human brain, abstracting images and objects from their natural context and relocating them to the landscape of the mind and memory.
Setting the stage with his deserted cityscapes painted with sharp contrasts of light and shadow, distorted perspectives, and a blurring of the border between interior and exterior, de Chirico evokes a haunting, ominous, but strangely relaxing dream world. This deep psychological aspect of his paintings has him constantly reinterpreting themes, leading to recurrent motifs.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Degatina on June 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is for those just discovering De Chirico, as well as those who have valued him for many years. The color reproductions are many and excellent. His various subjects are presented in developing groups; great idea. This painter was so honored in the heyday of surrealism; because he was the most original; the pioneer of a large sweeping mood of painting. You can read as much of the text as you wish; but don't be discouraged by the endless rambling of the author; he just didn't know when to stop. If you were not a De Chirico fan when you get this book, you will be when you own it.
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