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The Thinker, 1971

The Thinker, 1971

Oil on canvas, 90 x 70 cm

The painting’s subject is a variation on the Archaeologists theme of the 1920s, initially developed in Paris, in which the figure is characterized by the disproportionate relationship between the bust and the legs, which are short and covered by drapery. In these works, the figure’s abdomen is laden with objects such as rulers and set-squares, and fragments of classical architecture, which allude to ‘constructions’ of thought. An immobile aura of contemplation is inherent to these mannequins, which as de Chirico explained, were inspired by Gothic sculpture representing saints and apostles sitting down that he saw in Milan’s Duomo Cathedral: “They were characters one could only imagine seated. […] The very short legs, covered by the folds of their clothing, form a sort of indispensable base in support of the monumental bust […].” (G. de Chirico, Birth of the Mannequin, 1938)

The heap of objects held in the lap of the Archaeologist of the Parisian period is replaced by a winding of organic forms, which, while maintaining the function of spatial construction, also acquire a lightness, both visual and conceptual, due to the fluidity of this new matter. Thoughts, waving like feathers, seem to originate in the mind of the thinker/philosopher in a moment of meditation, wrapping around him like the tangled windings of the labyrinth of the Self, while the hand reaches out as if to share its inner world. (S.V.)

 

(Original title: Il meditatore, 1971, Inv. 23)