Alcestis: a Ferrara love story
An extensive epistolary has unexpectedly emerged (as always occurs with the discovery of archival documents) between Giorgio de Chirico and the unknown love of his, a Ferrara woman named Antonia Bolognesi. This wholly exceptional event highlights how much there is still to discover concerning our early 20th century artists as well as the importance of archival sources […].
In the meantime, the present volume offers, in and of itself, detailed testimony to a period strangely lacking in documentation, which happens to coincide with one of the most crucial changes in de Chirico’s art, from his Metaphysical Art of the Ferrara period to the Return to Craft and classicism of the «Valori Plastici» periodical […]. The discovery of the Bolognesi correspondence, comprising of almost daily missives during the course of 1919, is indeed noteworthy […].
Between June and the first half of July 1918, de Chirico painted a portrait of a woman that he entitled Alcestis and which was shown on occasion of the exhibition of his works at the Bragaglia gallery in February 1919. I had previously identified this portrait with its correct title thanks to the Signorelli correspondence, but we learn, thanks to the correspondence, that it is a portrait of Antonia Bolognesi, the young woman he loved, whom he often refers to with this moniker in the letters.
Professor of Contemporary Art History
Università “Gabriele d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara