Nestled away off Canonbury Road and just five minutes walk from Highbury and Islington station is the Estorick collection of Modern Italian Art. It’s one of London’s hidden galleries with an impressive permanent collection and it currently has an exhibition of the paintings and sculptures of Giorgio de Chirico.
De Chirico is a 20th century Italian artist whose name will not be familiar to most people. This show looks across the variety of his work and highlights his unique take on surrealism. There are paintings and sculpture that feel very traditional but it’s his more abstract art that makes him stand apart from other artists of the time.
De Chirico was born in Greece and this comes across in his elongated and often featureless sculptures that bear a close resemblance to ancient Cycladic art. His surreal sculptures are the most impressive works on display, including a couple of architects with various porticoes carved into their chest and one sculpture called ‘the great metaphysician’ that must be at least ten feet tall and towers over visitors.
His paintings feature similar characters but their bold colours and clean lines are not as impressive as the much more intricate and detailed sculptural works.
Despite the variety in De Chirico’s portfolio, the variance in quality means he shouldn’t be considered alongside the 20th century greats such as Picasso or Dali, but there is an individualistic quirkiness to his sculptures that makes for an intriguing exhibition.
Giorgio de Chirico: Myth and Mystery is on at Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, N1 2AN until 19 April. Tickets are £5, concessions available.