What does the painting mean?

Britni Pepper
Apr 26, 2020 · 3 min read

One of the Twentieth Century’s most important works, and it’s an enigma

“Mystery and Melancholy of a Street” by Giorgio de Chirico (1914)

But this painting?

Examine the perspectives and lighting. They simply do not add up. Quite apart from the building façades, the shadows do not align. The girl with the hoop, a shadow herself, casts a shadow at odds with that thrown by the nearby building.

Sense without form

The shadow girl is a reflection — like Plato’s Cave — of reality. I like to think that we animate the shadow, bowling the hoop along the street of life toward some future destiny, hinted at by yet another shadow. Our future selves, a statue?

Is my reality the same as yours?

That’s the real question, and in questioning our own senses, we come to the conclusion that nobody has the answer; if they claim truth, they are wrong.

Age of Awareness

Medium’s largest publication dedicated to education reform

Sign up for Age of Awareness - Rethinking the ways we learn

By Age of Awareness

Sign up to receive updates on our publication and podcast Take a look.

By signing up, you will create a Medium account if you don’t already have one. Review our Privacy Policy for more information about our privacy practices.

Check your inbox
Medium sent you an email at to complete your subscription.

Britni Pepper

Written by

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

Britni Pepper

Written by

Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

Age of Awareness

Stories providing creative, innovative, and sustainable changes to the ways we learn

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store