(Note: This is a piece I wrote for a freelance client that didn't end up getting used.)
Born July 10, 1888 in Volos, Greece - Died November 20, 1978 in Rome, Italy
Giorgio de Chirico is an Italian painter whose metaphysical painting style was greatly influential to the Surrealism movement. His pre-World War I work differs greatly in style and philosophy from his post-World War I work. Salvador Dalí, Rene Magritte, and other Surrealist painters cited de Chirico as influential on their work.
|Public domain image by Carl Van Vechten, 1936|
Giorgio de Chirico was born in Greece to two Italian parents. He first studied art in Florence, then moved to Germany. In Munich, he studied under the German artist Max Klinger and read the works of German philosophers.
Prior to the First World War, de Chirico is credited with creating the Scuola metafisica movement along with Carlo Carrà. These “metaphysical” paintings are characterized by images of cluttered, darkened interiors and mannequin-like human figures as well as a “haunted” or introspective mood.
In 1919, de Chirico published an article promoting a return to craftsmanship, or traditional painting methods. After its publication, his works exhibited a neoclassical style, influenced by Raphael and other past masters.
During the 1920s, Surrealist painter André Breton discovered de Chirico’s work. While critical of de Chirico’s traditionalist work, the Surrealist movement found de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings highly influential. De Chirico was highly critical of modern art.
After 1939, de Chirico painted in a neo-Baroque style. He remained a prolific painter until his death at age 90.
Giorgio de Chirico’s Most Important Works
• “The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon” (1910) is the first painting in de Chirico’s metaphysical painting series.
• “The Child’s Brain” (1914) is the painting that won de Chirico the attention of André Breton.
• “The Disquieting Muses” (1916) is exemplary of a recurring theme in de Chirico’s work (the Muses of Classical mythology) and inspired a Sylvia Plath poem of the same name.
• “Self Portrait” (1924) exemplifies de Chirico’s work of the 1920s, with its return to traditionalist techniques and Renaissance inspiration.
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