Giorgio de Chirico, Interno Metafisico con Testa di Filosofo, 1926,
Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm, © 2011 ProLitteris, Zurich
This room resembles the props department of a theatre! Random elements have been left here in an arbitrary fashion: ancient pillars, a piece of wall, several framed pictures, heavy upturned books. In front of the chaos there is the bust of a Greek philosopher. He appears to be the only object with a firm footing on the wooden floor, but his eyes are blind.
Giorgio de Chirico, who painted “Inner metaphysics and the head of the philosopher” in 1926 stated that: “Every object has two appearances; one, the current one, which we almost always see and is also seen by every other person. The other is a metaphysical appearance, which is only perceived by very few individuals in moments of exceptional clarity and metaphysical abstraction.”
De Chirico was one of the leading figures of the metaphysical art movement that emerged in Italy from 1910. With its unrealistic proportions, idiosyncratic colouring, the use of several vanishing points as well as an uninhibited approach to light and shadow, the style always broke away from visual conventions. The figurative portrayals were not intended to depict a recognizable reality, but rather to evoke the purely intellectual reality that lay behind it.
Perhaps the “theatre” in the picture shown here illustrates the things that the Greek philosopher has based his thinking on. Nevertheless his blind eyes appear to be seeing past all of those things – an indication maybe that the truth cannot be seen with one ´s real eyes. The philosopher sees with his inner eye and sees a reality that is concealed from us. He is, like the artist, the blind seer.