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Written Works

This section presents a list of Giorgio de Chirico’s complete writings and a selection of essays translated into English. An extensive collection of correspondence and autobiographical writings are also available for consultation thanks to the Foundation’s periodical “Metaphysical Art – The de Chirico Journals”, which is now available on-line in pdf format.

Giorgio de Chirico’s prolific literary activity traces a substantial part of his 90 year-long life and is characterised by a wide variety of genres and styles, ranging from theoretical and critical essays to numerous philosophic studies, treatises on art technique, polemic articles and reviews, poetry and prose, autobiographies, novels, drama and, of course, correspondence, both personal and work-related. Whilst this written work is well-known to Dechirican scholars, it is important to note that the historical, social and artistic insight provided by de Chirico is also useful for gaining a fuller understanding of the greater historical and artistic setting of the 20th century. In addition to his first theorisation of Metaphysical Art, this written work reveals de Chirico’s thoughts on Modern Art, Classical Art, as well as past and contemporary artists. It also includes various treatises by the artist on painting technique and the concept of Theatre.

In addition to The Memoirs of Giorgio de Chirico (Memorie della mia vita, 1945, II ed. 1962) (English translation, Peter Owen Ltd, London, 1971), the artist wrote a series of autobiographies, often signed with a pseudonym, and also created a number of “self-portraits” under the guise of the protagonist in his novels.

In de Chirico’s 1929 novel Hebdomeros – widely deemed as pure literary innovation – “painting is represented in words” (J. de Sanna). The work can be considered an autobiography as well as a literary self-portrait whereby the author “painted” his visions, observations and feelings, in words.

Giorgio de Chirico was fluent in several languages, of which Italian and French were those most frequently used in writing, even if his archive of correspondence also holds letters written in modern Greek, German and even English.