Giorgio de Chirico
Costume for a male guest in The Ball 1929

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
© Giorgio de Chirico, 1929/SIAE. Reproduced by permission of VISCOPY Ltd, Sydney 1999.

The ballet's setting is a masked ball in which men and women playfully disguise their identities. In de Chirico's design, architectural motifs painted on the backdrop also appear on many of the dancers' costumes. Columns, capitals, pediments, arches and friezes created by painting, appliqué, braiding and embroidery reinforce the theme of ambiguity and deception.