Museums and Art

The gladiatorial cycle of paintings by Giorgio de Chirico

The gladiatorial cycle of paintings by Giorgio de Chirico

Gladiator cycle - creative transfer to the antiquity of scenes from the boxing ring. He was attracted to athletes and violent games. In Ebdoméros, he admitted that he was able to understand what is the beauty and deep meaning of boxing. From the very beginning, the gladiators' motive has been associated with the almost disguised theme of homosexuality.

Painting At the school of gladiators

Painting At the school of gladiators. 1927.55x46


Painting At the school of gladiators written by 1927. The figure of the philosopher in the picture on the wall on the right resembles the thinker Auguste Rodin in his pose. The composition itself is very simple. In the foreground are two gladiators in loincloths. The soldier, standing on the left with a knife in his right hand, froze like a statue. The second gladiator with the gray color of his skin resembles a statue from a completely different era, his face is hidden under a mask of feathers.

The figures are generalized, somewhat hyperbolized. They seem to be frozen and petrified inhabitants of the sleepy kingdom. The fixed postures of the gladiators are even somewhat exaggerated. The artist does not depict people, but papier-mâché or wax figures. Confined space is an artistic metaphor of a ring illuminated by floodlights. And the light itself, annoying, unnatural, contributes to a certain transfer of the ancient scene to the present.

Picture Gladiators

Picture Gladiators. 1936. 117x89

Over time, the gladiator cycle undergoes some kind of evolution. There is a transition of the artist to a realistic manner inherent in classical painting. Gladiators created in 1936, have a composition inscribed in a triangle. The figures here are less schematic and much more dynamic than in previous canvases of the cycle. And the carefully worked out tensed muscles of the rivals testify to the painter’s deep knowledge of anatomy.

Scene Battle of the gladiators in the arena

Poster Battle of the gladiators in the arena. 1948. 60x100


Twelve years later, working on the Battle of the Gladiators in the arena, de Chirico closer to realism. Natural colors make it possible to faithfully reproduce Roman historical realities. Each gesture of the gladiators is captured by an exceptional elaboration of details, while the arena and the blood-thirsty crowd are depicted very conditionally. The color and composition of the picture resembles an antique fresco. Probably, such a hoax was entirely included in de Chirico's plans, since the heroic, at first glance, plot is full of irony and even a certain share of the grotesque. All the characters froze with a loaded weapon, as if unable to move. Dynamics again turns into static.


Watch the video: Love Letters to MAG: Giorgio de Chirico, Florentine Still Life (October 2021).