One of the most interesting features in de Chirico's art is the unmistakable and heavy sense of gloom
. Although the actual images he painted were innocuous
-seeming scenes of piazza
s and tower
s, all bearing that mediterranean flavour - there is always an undeniable disconcerting aura
The first de Chirico painting that sucked me into its shrouded and odd silence was 'Mystery and Melancholy of a Street'. Its flat format showing two buildings, an area in shade and child playing with a hoop seem mundane and immature. However instantly, one can feel the overpowering silence. The lack of form through modelling, and the stark bright noontime yellow of the piazza really does emanate mystery.
This oddity in the picture at first appears unfounded, baffling. There is something disturbing in de Chirico's art which at first is hard to pin down but the - a keen artist eye will trace it. Many of his metaphysical paintings show two planes of perspective. The eye is used to seeing pictures with mathematically calculated perspectives with one vanishing point to which all edges are distorted. De Chirico, however, deliberately takes away what the eye has become used to viewing, then given the painting two separate vanishing points, so that although the iconography makes it seem like one picture, the eye instructs the mind that it is actually two.
Few artists, IMHO, are as striking as de Chirico in setting a mood - except maybe for Balthus, but that would be a whole other node.