“Quell’uom di multiforme ingegno” – the title of the exhibition dedicated to Giorgio de Chirico inaugurating in Milan on January 12th 2017at the 29 Art in Progress Gallery on Via di San Vittore, and open to the public until February 11th – is the first verse of Homer’s “Odyssey” in the famous Italian translation by poet Ippolito Pindemonte.
The epic poem starts with an invocation to the Muses that immediately declares its protagonist to be “polytropon”, “versatile”: a man of great intelligence and cunning, two weapons he will need to face the great hardships that await him.
“De Chirico is not often likened to Ulysses,” explained the show’s curator, Nikolaos Velissiotis, born in the same Greek town of Volos as the great metaphysical painter. “His name is more easily associated to Hermes: ‘Chirico’ in Greek means god’s messenger; or to one of the Dioscuri, sons of Jupiter. But I think Ulysses is the best simile, considering the multiplicity of his interests, the constant moving and the inevitable Nietzschean return, which he described in his works more than once.”
To say it with Federico Zeri, the thirty works on display – drawings, sculptures, paintings, lithographic prints – tell the story of this great master’s journey, “releasing an aura of mystery of unsettling intensity […] with painting of pure thought”.