Animated Stones: Giorgio de Chirico’s Le Bal and the Neo-Classical Body

in Experiment
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Abstract

In his set and costume designs for the 1929 production Le Bal, Giorgio de Chirico critiqued two aspects of the Ballets Russes' legacy: the troupe's increasing reliance on the Classical tradition and its longstanding allegiance to the Gesamtkunstwerk. The mismatched shards of classical architecture in de Chirico's designs undermined the corporeal harmony and grace central to the Classical ideal in art and dance. His uncanny substitution of inorganic materials for body parts undermined the belief, shared by many artists in this period, in the potential of human surrogates to aid them in their progress toward the total artwork of the future.

Animated Stones: Giorgio de Chirico’s Le Bal and the Neo-Classical Body

in Experiment

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References

1)

Emile Vuillermoz“Théâtre Sarah-Bernhardt: Ballets Russes,” Excelsior31 May 1929; clipping in the Archives Rondel Bibliothèque Nationale microfilm roll #Ro12570. All translations are mine unless otherwise noted.

2)

Henry Malherbe“Chronique Musicale,” Le Temps5 June 1929; Waldemar George “L’art à la scène: En marge des Ballets Russes” Scène 5 June 1929; Valentin Parnac “La Danse”; André Levinson “Le deuxième spectacle des Ballets Russes: Le BalComoedia 30 May 1929. All clippings from the Archives Rondel Ro12570.

4)

Linda NochlinThe Body in Pieces: The Fragment as a Metaphor of Modernity (London: Thames and Hudson1994) p. 7.

13)

Giorgio de Chirico“Statues, Meubles, Généraux,” Bulletin de l’Effort Moderne (October 1927); reprinted in Giorgio de Chirico Il Meccanismo del pensiero: Critica polemica autobiografia 1911-1943 Maurizio Fagiolo ed. (Torino: Giulio Einaudi 1985) pp. 277-78.

17)

Ibid. p. 279.

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