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Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

Cavalli antichi

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)
Cavalli antichi
signed 'G. de Chirico' (lower centre)
oil on canvas
35¼ x 27½ (89.5 x 70 cm.)
Painted circa 1957
Galleria d'Arte Moderne Sangallo, Florence (no. 27, dated '1942').
Galleria Seno, Milan (no. 434).
Gallerie dello Scudo, Verona (dated '1958').
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


This work is sold with a photo-certificate from Claudio Bruni Sakraischik.

'When, in the sixteenth year of the reign of Antoninus the philosopher, Pausanias visited Greece, the gods had long been dead. The only voice that remained was that of the sea and the wind. The temples offered the sky their illustrious decay. The drums of columns were scattered on the ground like colossal broken necklaces. Wild horses ran on deserted beaches, they stopped to listen, moved around the crazy bloodshot eye, then raced off at a gallop, frightened by the immense nothingness' (Alberto Savinio: Narrate, uomini, la vostra storia (vita di Isadora Duncan), Milan, 1942, p. 258).

Painted circa 1958 Cavalli antichi revisits one of de Chirico's favourite and most enduring themes: two classical horses standing alone by the sea and amidst the ruins of ancient Mediterranean civilization. For de Chirico the horse was an animal mysteriously associated with the sea and what he once described as the 'enigma and infinite nostalgia of the deep.' An ancient and iconic creature that symbolically somehow bridges the two worlds of classical antiquity and the sea, the horse for de Chirico became one of the key evocative images of his art, appearing in numerous paintings throughout his career. As John Cocteau once remarked, Giorgio de Chirico, who was born in Greece, 'no longer needs to paint Pegasus. A horse by the sea - with its colour, its eyes and its mouth - assumes the importance of the myth' (Jean Cocteau, 1928, quoted in Jole de Sanna, (ed.) De Chirico and the Mediterranean, 1998, p. 247).