Portrait of Carlo Cirelli
Giorgio de Chirico, Italian (born Greece), 1888 - 1978
Although better known for his mysterious images of empty piazzas and brooding mannequins, Giorgio de Chirico also painted a large number of portraits and self-portraits during his career. He created this portrait in October 1915 while living in the Italian city of Ferrara, where he was stationed in the 27th Infantry Regiment during World War I. Carlo Cirelli, a corporal in the Italian army, befriended de Chirico during his military service. The artist later recalled that Cirelli was a man of rare sensitivity, intelligence, and exquisite taste, and this portrayal places special emphasis on the corporal's carefully manicured fingernails, which are tapered like the sharpened points of fountain pens.