Portrait of Maria Savinio

Alberto Savinio (Andrea Francesco Alberto de Chirico, 1891-1952)
1931, Oil on canvas

Alberto Savinio (whose real name was Andrea De Chirico, younger brother of Giorgio) met the woman who would become his wife in the Teatro d’Arte group of Rome’s Palazzo Odescalchi theatre, directed by Luigi Pirandello, in 1925. The painting dates back to 1931 and portrays her in an elegant dress with a blue shawl with white flowers resting on her shoulders, a noble, composed appearance and a showy necklace around her neck.

Like his brother, Savinio was born in Greece. He studied in Munich before moving to Paris. His artistic career got underway as a musician and later as a composer. He only dedicated himself to painting from 1927, aged thirty-six, in a Paris which at the time was the “cradle” of the avant-garde movements. In this stimulating environment, his style remained an unusual one, in a middle-ground between surrealism and metaphysics. His painting is crammed with symbolic meaning, and interwoven with a number of cultural references. He was dubbed a “Mediterranean surrealist” owing to the constant presence in his works of references to classical Greek features.