Archive for February 10th, 2014


Sometimes the horizon is defined by a wall behind which rises the noise of a disappearing train. The whole nostalgia of the infinite is revealed to us behind the geometrical precision of the square. We experience the most unforgettable movements when certain aspects of the world, whose existence we completely ignore, suddenly confront us with the revelation of mysteries lying all the time within our reach and which we cannot see because we are too short-sighted, and cannot feel because our senses are inadequately developed.  Their dead voices speak to us from nearby, but they sound like voices from another planet.

–Giorgio de Chirico


de chirico the disquieting muses 1916I like this quote from de Chirico.  We are surrounded by mystery wonder at every turn yet we don’t even notice.  I especially love the last line — Their dead voices speak to us from nearby, but they sound like voices from another planet.  It has such a poetic rhythm and reminds me of stepping out from my studio and looking up into the night sky to see Jupiter shining so brightly above me, so huge and visible to us yet mostly unnoticed.  Voices from another planet.

De Chirico was an interesting  case. His earlier work, from his metaphysical period like the pieces shown here, is the work that defines him. Definitely the work that influenced me and a host of other artists.  It is work with a distinct and powerful voice, wok that you immediately recognize as his alone.  But in mid-career he basically set it aside and began to paint in a more traditional manner.  It was good work but was not distinctive and set apart from other artists.  It was work that could have been painted by any number of professional painters and lacked both the individual voice and the revelation of mystery that seemed ingrained in the early work.  This later work never garnered nearly the attention that his earlier work had, much to  de Chirico’s consternation.

I can’t say that de Chirico was wrong for following his mind in changing his style.  It was his to change.  But there is a lesson here in that your individual voice is the greatest asset that any person can possess– if you dare to stand apart and pay heed to those voices from another planet.

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