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Animated Stones: Giorgio de Chirico’s Le Bal and the Neo-Classical Body

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Abstract In his set and costume designs for the 1929 production Le Bal, Giorgio de Chirico critiqued two aspects of the Ballets Russes' legacy: the troupe's increasing reliance on the Classical tradition and its longstanding allegiance to the Gesamtkunstwerk. The mismatched shards of classical architecture in de Chirico's designs undermined the corporeal harmony and grace central to the Classical ideal in art and dance. His uncanny substitution of inorganic materials for body parts undermined the belief, shared by many artists in this period, in the potential of human surrogates to aid them in their progress toward the total artwork of the future.


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