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The Greco-Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) went to Paris in 1910, where he came into contact with Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, the leaders of the avant-garde in painting and poetry. Soon he began painting odd city street scenes, under the spell, he said, of Nietszche’s writings and the architecture of Turin. Because these pictures seem deserted by humanity despite ostensible signs of life, they have often been described as haunted. Other paintings are highly unusual still-life arrangements of blank canvases, architectural objects, plant and military images, balls and mannequins. Love Song represents an austere hybrid of the two.

Here de Chirico’s pictorial language is stripped to its most essential elements, but because these elements bear no logical relation to one another, Love Song is a clear representative of the powerful impact de Chirico had on the Surrealist movement. After returning to Italy de Chirico teamed up with Carlo Carrà to develop the principles of Pittura Metafisica, which helped solidify his presence in the European avant-garde and further open the doors to Surrealism.

In 1929 de Chirico pulled off the remarkable feat of creating a literary counterpart to his metaphysical paintings. The novel Hebdomeros concerns a character by the same name, a “kind of metaphysician”, moving through dream-like spaces we are familiar with from de Chirico’s paintings. It’s as if the mannequin has come to life and we travel through the dream with him. Son of Melmoth and Maldoror, brother to Zarathustra, Hebdomeros inhabits a novel that, according to the poet John Ashbery, is the most beautiful example of the form in Surrealism.

And then, after only ten years of metaphysical painting and Hebdomeros, de Chirico turned his back on the art he pioneered, and spent the rest of his life working in a neo-baroque style for which he never received acclaim.

~Write a poem inspired by Giorgio de Chirico – the man, his art or one of his works in particular

~Post it on your blog

~Click the Mr. Linky button below, and in the new window that opens up input your name and direct url of the poem.

~Visit others who have taken the challenge.

Let’s have some fun!~Mark Kerstetter