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The divine horses of Achilles, Balios and Xanthos



Giorgio de Chirico


10 Jul 1888 – 20 Nov 1978

  • Details

    Other Title
    Antique horses
    Alternative title
    Les chevaux divins d'Achille, Balios et Xanthos Chevaux Antiques au Bord de la Mer Egee
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    96.5 x 87.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., oil "G. de Chirico/... 1963". Signed and dated u.c. verso, ink ".../ Giorgio de Chirico/ ... 25 Dicembre 1963". Signed l.c., oil G. de Chirico".

    Purchased 2006
    20th-century galleries (ground floor)
    Accession number
    © Estate of Giorgio de Chirico/SIAE. Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Giorgio de Chirico

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Painting his first self-portrait in 1911, Giorgio de Chirico inscribed in Latin beneath his image in classical guise, ‘And what shall I love if not the enigma’. Throughout his career the artist sought mystery in the mythologies of the classical world and painted the terrains of antiquity that loomed large in European cultural imagination as modern dreamscapes.

    De Chirico considered the horse as an enigma. A being that straddled ancient and modern realms, the horse signified both the structural certainties of the classical world and the vitality of mystery. De Chirico continued to paint its forms late in his career. Here the horses of past warriors are riderless, roaming free and presiding over the ruins of antiquity that float away at sea.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 7 publications

  • Provenance

    Isabella de Chirico, Rome/Italy, inscription verso

    Artcurial Centre d'Art Plastique Contemporain, Paris, Paris/France, exhibited in 'De Chirico: néo-baroque' 1985 and 'De Chirico et ses Consequences Post-Metaphysiques' 1993 at Artcurial Centre d'Art Plastique Contemporain, Paris

    Private Collection, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia

    Deutscher-Menzies, Sydney, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, Purchased by the AGNSW from Deutscher-Menzies 2006. 'Australian and International Fine Art, Melbourne and Sydney', 14 June 2006, lot.no.39