Among these, one truly stands out from the crowd: La Fontana dei Bagni Misteriosi (The Fountain of Mysterious Baths), one of the very last works realised by Greek-born Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) who also founded the Metafisica art movement. Finished in 1973 to mark the seminal Contatto Arte-Città exhibition, part of the XV Triennale di Milano, it enriched and expanded this international exposition on decorative arts and modern architecture.
The resulting majestic grouping of sculptures, the biggest ever conceived by this Italian master, can now be found at the Triennale park – hidden in the confines of the vast and surrounding Sempione park, yet separated from it by a fence to allow the artwork to be seen and admired both from the outside, i. e. through the fence, and from the inside via the Triennale building. Fashioned from a peculiar material, a naturally occurring limestone mined in the Vicenza area near Venice, the work has undergone several restorative measures before its final rejuvenation in 2011, funded by the Fondazione Giorgio and Isa de Chirico.
Altogether, eight enigmatic elements compose this extraordinary piece: a booth, a trampoline, two swimmers, a swan, a fish, a ball and a fountainhead. The curved basin is embellished with wave designs while bright colours like red, yellow and blue dominate the overall look.
Rich in mythological and classical references and exuding metaphysical esprit, La Fontana dei Bagni Misteriosi pinpoints the great resourcefulness and genius of Giorgio de Chirico who conceived this urban treasure at the impressive age of 85.