|An example of Giorgio de Chirco's pre-World War I painting, which was an important influence on later surrealist painters.|
by Giorgio de Chirico
Surrealism, lol. I must confess that I find surrealist literature rather tedious. At least with the paintings you look at the work and you are done. With the literature, it means wading through pages of nonsensical gobbledgook, with a lack of plot being a defining characteristic. Surrealism has always been an acquired taste and its practitioners have a tendency to drift in out of the movement.
Painter/writer Giorgo de Chirico, an Italian raised in Greece, who wrote in French after living in Germany, is an excellent example of the tenuous nature of surrealism itself. He started as a painter prior to World War I, where he was the founder and primary exponent of the scuola metafisica, a style of painting that largely prefigures the later surrealist style. After World War I he abandoned the scuola metafisica for neoclassicism, and was of course denounced by the surrealist. Then, in 1929, he produced Hebdomeros, an acknowledged classic of surrealist literature, while still painting in the neoclassic/neo baroque style, leading him to be once again accepted by the surrealist movement.
To the extent that Hebdomeros is about anything, it tells of the wanderings of the eponymous character. He goes through a series of landscapes, speculating about life, the universe and everything. Fans of the more insane end of the surrealist spectrum will perhaps be disappointed by the lack of outre violent or sexual content, but those who appreciate the dream state/psychological aspect more interesting will find an important work.