Böcklinesque Beginnings (1909-1910)

Having undergone several years of formal artistic training –first frequenting Athens’ Ethnikò Metsòbion Polytechneìo (1900-1906) followed by Munich’s prestigious Königlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste (1906-1909)– de Chirico’s early Böcklinesque paintings mark his debut as a free-thinking artist, liberated from daily institutional constraints. The work of Swiss symbolist painter  Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901), which de Chirico came into close contact with during his time in Munich, proved seminal in this post-academic phase, an artist whom de Chirico championed for executing works of mythological and fantastical subject matter that convey a disquieting sense of surprise, revelation and déjà vu. Inspired by Böcklin’s choice of subject matter and timeless atmosphere (Stimmung), clear parallels can be found in a number of the artists’ work, including the exhibited Battle with the Centaurs (1909. The metaphysical intensity of the work of German symbolist Max Klinger (1857-1920) also inspired de Chirico’s early phase of 1909-1910.

Highlighting his various periods with examples from his earliest works to last ones, Giorgio de Chirico: The Enigma of the World exhibition took place at the Pera Museum between 24 February - 08 May 2016.

Medicinal Herbs in Byzantium

Medicinal Herbs in Byzantium

Knowledge of plants and the practice of healing are closely entwined. The toxic or hallucinogenic nature of some roots, and the dangers associated with picking them, conferred a mythical or magical character and power. 

Game of Mangala

Game of Mangala

Three figures in Eastern dress are shown in repose against an exotic landscape, smoking pipes and playing mangala. Inventories of the royal collections from 1739 identify the members of this group as the royal eunuch Matthias and two odalisques. 

Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel

Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel

In 1998 Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu collaborated on an obvious remake of Marcel Duchamp’s Roue de Bicyclette, his first “readymade” object. Duchamp combined a bicycle wheel, a fork and a stool to create a machine which served no purpose, subverting accepted norms of art.