Writing under the pen name Alberto Savinio, Andrea de Chirico (brother of painter Giorgio) penned fourteen short portraits of such luminaries as the painter Arnold Bocklin, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, Verdi, Stradivarius, Nostradamus, Paracelsus, Jules Verne, the bullfighter Bienvenido, Isadora Duncan, and Carlo Collodi, the creator of Pinocchio. In these biographies, Savinio's complex tone is at times warm and cordial -and, at other times, ironic to the point of malignancy.
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The Wily Cretan
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amid ancient Antonio Stradivari Apollinaire arms Arnold Bocklin arrived artists asked astinomos Athens beard beautiful Bocklin body called Cavallotti Cayetano Collodi Commendatore Corfu corrida Cremona Cretan cried dance dark dead death divine door dreamed dressed earth Egle Eleutherios Eleutherios Venizelos eyes face father fear feet Felice Cavallotti fingers floor flowers Gargaras Greece Greek hand head husband Isadora Duncan Italy Jules Verne king Kopanos lady language later legs light lived Lohengrin look mind mother mouth mysterious Naples never night Nivasio Dolcemare Nostradamus once painter painting Paracelsus Paris Pelopidas Pina Pinocchio poet Poma's portrait replied secret shadow shining Signora Poma silence sleep soul sound street studio Theophrastus thou thought took tree turned Venizelos villa Vincenzo Gemito violin voice walking wall wife window woman words