The Jewish Angel

Artist: Giorgio de Chirico (Italian (born Greece), Vólos 1888–1978 Rome)

Date: 1916

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 26 7/8 × 17 3/4 in. (68.3 × 45.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998

Accession Number: 1999.363.15

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


This still life is exceptional in the oeuvre of this artist, whose acclaimed magical Italian cityscapes of 1911 to 1917 would influence the Surrealists a decade later. Painted wood elements, among them a pink-dotted French curve, blue-and-white meter stick, and right angles, are stacked pell-mell above what might be kilometer markers. Among these objects, an oversize eye, crudely drawn on a large piece of paper, surprises. De Chirico's father was an engineer with a railroad company, and it has been suggested that this scaffoldlike structure and eye might be an abstract portrait of him.