De Chirico’s Self-Portrait (1954)
The androgynous theme of this late self-portrait by De Chirico is so obvious that it hardly needs explanation. However, unless one knows that art is a depiction of the poet's mind, it is possible to mistake this image as depicting the artist’s life rather than his creative soul. Nevertheless, De Chirico did not necessarily base it on a woman. That would have been too obvious….
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As you can see from this Rubens self-portrait, some of De Chirico’s female elements, such as the large bonnet, are actually references to a male master. Although Rubens’ self-portrait may not be the actual one De Chirico used - there are others in which Rubens wears a wide-brimmed hat - it does explain the Rubenesque style of De Chirico's portrait. So, despite appearances, the message is traditional: that De Chirico feels at one with an earlier master and has assumed his "identity."
More Works by De Chirico
See how one form can metamorphose into another while bringing with it the form's original meaning
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