Giorgio de Chirico House Museum Travel Guide
IntroductionFor lovers of art all over the world, another go-to place when in Rome would be the Giorgio de Chirico House Museum. Located right at the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) in Rome, the museum is currently in the 17th century Palazzetto dei Borgognoni. At the top three floors of this structure is where one of Italy’s foremost modern artists, Giorgio de Chirico, resided and worked from 1948 when he acquired the property, up until his death in 1978.
De Chirico, whose works are also featured at institutions such as the Guggenheim, is known to have produced artwork in the neoclassical and neo-Baroque style, and is also credited as the founder of the metaphysical school of art (“scuola metafisica “) which heavily influenced later surrealist artists. This art movement is identified by sharp contrasts of light and shadow, which resulted in pictures that had a “vaguely threatening, mysterious quality.” De Chirico’s work, in particular, had an emphasis on strange, eerie spaces that were based upon existing Italian piazzas and the like. His common motifs included towers, elongated shadows, empty arcades, mannequins, and trains, to name a few.
While the scuola metafisica movement was short-lived, de Chirico carried on with his work, and in his later years, took up the subject again in what is known as his Neometaphysics phase. It was also at this time that he took an interest in cast bronze sculptures, and he began crafting sculptures in various materials such as gilded bronze, silver patina, silver, and gilded silver.
He died at the age of 90, and his widow, Isabella Pakszwer Far, later founded the Giorgio e Isa de Chirico Foundation in 1986. She, too, passed away in 1990, leaving the property to the state. Eight years later, in 1998, the house was then opened to the public as a museum where visitors can enjoy a selection of de Chirico’s work which spans about 40 years, from the 1930s to the 1970s.
What to See
The First Floor
The main floor of Chirico’s apartments was originally the artist’s welcoming area for visitors, where gatherings and receptions were held. Here, one can enjoy a mix of furnishings from the 1950s mixed with 17th century décor and motifs. There are marble tables and ornate gold frames, as well as furniture in the style of Louis XVI. There are numerous painting and sculptures that adorn the walls and surfaces of this level which are meant to introduce visitors to de Chirico’s diverse subjects and themes.
The Second Floor
The second level is the more private area of de Chirico’s home, where the bedrooms and his studio are located. Of particular note on this level would be the studio, which has a skylight that illuminates the entire room, bringing into focus the artist’s tools, brushes, and colors. There are numerous casts of classical busts, and perhaps most poignant of all, would be the easel upon which de Chirico’s last unfinished painting of a bathing woman remains, as if he were to return at any moment to complete it.
The Third Floor
At the top floor of de Chirico’s apartments is a wide terrace from which one can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of Rome, as well as a good view of the Piazza di Spagna which it overlooks. However, take note that access to this area is limited, and you may have to ask for permission from your guide or from the museum’s officials to enter it.
In what used to be the apartment’s kitchen now resides the Giorgio e Isa de Chirico Foundation’s offices and library. The library is of particular note as it contains volumes of the artist’s written work as well as a good number of exhibition catalogues. To access the library, you will have to request it from the museum’s administration by either calling them or sending a letter of request via email.
Tips and Advice
- The Giorgio De Chirico House Museum is only open upon reservation, so it is important to book a schedule for a viewing in advance. This can be arranged by contacting the museum administration directly, or via your tour operator. It is possible to book a viewing schedule online and pay in cash upon arrival.
- Available schedules for visiting are from Tuesdays to Saturdays, as well as the first Sunday of each month. You can opt for either a 10am, 11am, or 12pm visit. It is closed on some holidays such as Christmas and New Year.
- Each tour lasts 45 minutes long, and you can request for either an Italian or an English-speaking guide when you make your booking.
- Full ticket price is EUR 7 per person.