Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity 2015

November 4 - January 30, 2015

Helly Nahmad Gallery, NYC, USA

We at Helly Nahmad Gallery and Phoenix Ancient Art are pleased with our first ever collaboration, Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity, an exhibition juxtaposing twentieth century paintings by Giorgio de Chirico and exceptional Greek and Roman antiquities, all sourced from preeminent private collections, and never before seen together in the public eye. Modern painting and antiquity come together in an elegant pairing that will challenge viewers’ predispositions on Modern Art.

Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity reveals the aesthetic impact Classicism had on twentieth century Modernism, exemplified in a body of work presented here by the Greek-born, Italian master Giorgio de Chirico. Known mostly for his Metaphysical period, the exhibition focuses on his often-misunderstood series of Neo-classical paintings done after a stylistic shift in the 1919. The paintings exhibited here are from the 1920s and incorporate the major themes of this period: deserted valleys dotted with classical ruins, figurative works of philosophers and gods, scenes with gladiators clad in armor and heroic horses in windswept landscapes. Further illustrating his inspiration, these historic paintings are exhibited alongside a carefully curated selection of precious objects from antiquity, including outstanding Greek and Roman marbles, mosaics, bronze armor and Greek vases.

Mnemosyne is a Greek goddess, the mother of the Muses, and, symbolically, memory itself personified. According to legend, without her we would have no memory, no history and therefore no basis for inspiration or creativity. Our exhibition takes the remembrance of the past to heart, illustrating how one Modern Master’s appreciation of the ancients inspired a remarkable body of work. The exhibition hopes to help cultivate an environment where antiquity is appreciated in a modern context and vigilantly guarded for future generations to study and enjoy.

Helly Nahmad and Hicham Aboutaam