Volos, 1888 – Rome, 1978
Giorgio de Chirico was born in Greece to Italian parents. From an early age, he displayed an aptitude for drawing and painting that he was encouraged to pursue by studying fine art at the Polytechnic School of Athens. In 1906, de Chirico moved to Munich, where he attended the Academy of Fine arts for two years. There, he came across the philosophical writings of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, as well as the late Romantic paintings of Arnold Böcklin. These were particularly influential in the realisation of his first metaphysical self-portraits and landscapes.
Intrigued and fascinated by the young painter’s canvases when the latter moved to Paris in 1911, the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire introduced de Chirico to his circle of friends including the artists of the Cubist movement, as well as Surrealist writer André Breton. Upon meeting Carlo Carrà in Ferrara in 1916, the two artists began theorizing metaphysical painting.
Their research led to de Chirico’s first solo exhibition in 1919, which attracted many Surrealist artists, who were drawn to the mysterious atmosphere of de Chirico’s canvases. Their aura of silence and longing, their dream-like quality and the imaginary plane on which they evolved resonated with the artistic research of Surrealism.
From the 1920s onward, however, de Chirico gradually detached himself from metaphysical painting to join the Novecento movement in 1925. Taking a stance against Modernism, these artists looked back to the Italian pictorial tradition, and de Chirico drew much criticism to himself from the avant-garde art world as he adopted more a more traditional style and technique, painting mythological subjects and landscapes. His Veronese-like works of the 1940s led the Surrealists to definitively renounce him.
Giorgio de Chirico died in Rome, in 1978 and his works are now housed in prestigious institutions throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London and the National Gallery in Rome.
© GIORGIO DE CHIRICO, by SIAE 2020
Morandi, Balla, de Chirico and Italian Painting 1920 – 1950
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art London. Text by Flavia Frigeri. B/W and colored illustrations, 175 pages, 9.4 x 11. 4 in, English/Italian, 2020.
Utopia. Italian Art & Design
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art Paris. Texts by Charles Zana and Flavia Frigeri. B/w and colored illustrations, 72 pages, 6,6×9,6 in, English, 2019.
Reading de Chirico
exhibition catalogue edited by Tornabuoni Art e Katherine Robinson. B/w and colored illustrations, 256 pages, 9,4×11,8 cm, Italian/English, 2017.