Drawn From Life

2 minute read
TIME

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nginx/1.14.0 (Ubuntu) When you’ve had enough of Rome’s ancient ruins, Caravaggio paintings and Bernini buildings, drop into the De Chirico House-Museum for a bracing look at the life and work of a 20th century master. Giorgio de Chirico fused a classical eye with a disquieting imagination to create Metaphysical art — like the eerie Melancholy and Mystery of a Street (1914), which depicts the shadowy figure of a girl rolling a hoop into a piazza — and later breathed new life into the Baroque.

De Chirico’s pristinely preserved two-level apartment in Rome’s splendid Piazza di Spagna, where he lived for more than 30 years until his death in 1978, is an intimate way to encounter some of the artist’s best-known works. A guide ushers visitors into the living area, which has been left largely as it was during De Chirico’s life and displays dozens of his works. “He lived in his own museum,” notes Victoria Noel-Johnson, project coordinator for the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation.

The living room features several impressive neo-Metaphysical pieces from the 1960s and ’70s, including Orpheus the Wearied Troubadour (1970). During this period, De Chirico reworked the haunting depictions of piazzas and faceless troubadours from the canvases of the 1910s and ’20s that made him famous. There are also neo-Baroque portraits of De Chirico and his wife, Isabella, in regal 17th century attire, which display his masterly brushwork and ironic eye for melodrama.

De Chirico’s spirit is strongest in the top-floor painter’s studio, which remains just as he left it at the time of his death. Dried-up paint tubes and brushes are strewn about, and his unfinished oil-on-canvas copy of Michelangelo’s masterpiece The Doni Tondo is displayed on his easel. Sunlight streams through the skylights, illuminating De Chirico’s library of art and philosophy books and his collection of traditional Italian good-luck charms. De Chirico’s modern twist on the classical is a fresh and re-energizing dose of Roman art. Reservations must be made in advance. tel: (39-06) 679 6546; www.fondazionedechirico.it

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