Silence in the city – the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Edward Hopper | Lecture
Kamila Śpiewla-Kasperek’s lecture focuses on Giorgio de Chirico and Edward Hopper, artists who produced their works during the era when avant-garde culture was dominant. Their work was not influenced by modern art trends or world-altering events, and their life stories different greatly from the typical narratives of artistic outsiders and eccentrics.
Giorgio de Chirico, the Italian painter, is recognised as the founder of the metaphysical painting movement and the precursor of Surrealism. Born in Greece, de Chirico identified Florence, Italy, as his artistic birthplace to emphasise that this was where he began his artistic journey. In 1910, he had an epiphany in the square of Santa Croce church in Florence, where he saw the surroundings in a metaphysical light. Chirico is renowned for his works that evoke a disquieting, dreamlike quality. His preferred subjects were the vacant expanses of Italian piazzas, dark arcades of Renaissance architecture, and structures like towers and monuments. These elements combine to create scenes reminiscent of mysterious, deserted theatrical stages, occasionally populated by human figures or their elongated, figurative shadows.
Edward Hopper, an iconic American painter, produced over 800 works including paintings, watercolours, prints, drawings, and illustrations. He is most celebrated for his unique depiction of New York’s architecture, portraying the large city and its isolated, lost, and alienated residents. Hopper crafted stark yet intimate scenes depicting life in a metropolis where time and space seem to stand still. These scenes, resembling micro-dramas, are rich in expressive strength, encouraging reflection and exploration of deeper meanings.
Edward Hopper and Giorgio de Chirico, renowned as painters of silence and nostalgia, are celebrated for their exceptional skill in crafting atmospheric compositions. They often opt for seemingly straightforward subjects and exhibit a restraint in form, with a predominance of static elements in their works. Yet, within these paintings, there’s a pervasive sense of dreamlike melancholy and an undercurrent of tense anticipation, as if the calmness depicted might be a precursor to some looming calamity. Both artists refrain from dictating any specific interpretations of their art. Their creations are subtly rendered, allowing hidden anxieties and desires of the viewers to be projected onto the canvas. In their artistic endeavours, Hopper and de Chirico offer a profound exploration of the human condition, reflecting the frustrations, dilemmas, and phobias of contemporary existence, particularly the concept of an ‘interpersonal void’.
About the speaker
A visual artist, art history teacher, and sociocultural animator. She graduated from the the Institute of Artistic Education at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, with a degree in painting. She has a longstanding affiliation with the “Pod Akacją” Youth Cultural Centre, where she has established and currently leads both the History of Art Workshop and the Visual Arts Workshop, which includes elements of art history. She also conducts various types of workshops for children and adults, combining artistic practice with art education.
When: 16 November 2023, 5 p.m.
Where: Workshops of Culture in Lublin, Grodzka 5a, auditorium – 2nd floor
For: teens aged 15+ and adults