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Giorgio De Chirico

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Published on May 7, 2012

Giorgio de Chirico (July 10, 1888 -- November 20, 1978) also known as Népo, was an influential pre-Surrealist Greek-Italian painter born in Volos, Greece, to a Genovese mother and a Sicilian father. He founded the scuola metafisica art movement.
After studying art in Athens and Florence, de Chirico moved to Germany in 1906 and entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he read the writings of the philosophers Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, and studied the works of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger.

He returned to Italy in the summer of 1909 and spent six months in Milan. At the beginning of 1910, he moved to Florence where he painted the first of his 'Metaphysical Town Square' series: The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon after the revelation he felt in Piazza Santa Croce. He also painted The Enigma of the Oracle while in Florence. In July 1911 he spent a few days in Turin on his way to Paris. De Chirico was profoundly moved by what he called the 'metaphysical aspect' of Turin: the architecture of its archways and piazzas. It was the city of Nietzsche. De Chirico moved to Paris in July 1911, where he joined his brother Andrea. Through his brother he met Pierre Laprade a member of the jury at the Salon d'Automne, where he exhibitted three of his works Enigma of the Oracle, Enigma of an Afternoon and Self-Portrait. During 1913 he exhibited his work at the Salon des Indépendants and Salon d'Automne, his work was noticed by Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, he also sold his first painting, The Red Tower. In 1914 through Guillaume Apollianaire, he met the art dealer Paul Guillame, with whom he signed a contract for his artistic output.

At the outbreak of the First World War, he decided to return to Italy, arriving in May 1915 when he enlisted in the Italian army. He was considered unfit for work and assigned to the hospital at Ferra. He continued to paint, and in 1918, he transferred to Rome. From 1918 his work was exhibited extensively in Europe. He met and married his first wife, the Russian Ballerina Raissa Gurievich in 1924, and together they moved to Paris. In 1928 he held his first exhibition in New York and shortly afterwards, London.

In 1930 De Chirico met his second wife, Isabella Pakszwer Far, a Russian, with whom he would remain for the rest of his life. Together they moved to Italy in 1932, finally settling in Rome in 1944.

De Chirico is best known for the paintings he produced between 1909 and 1919, his metaphysical period, which are memorable for the haunted, brooding moods evoked by their images. At the start of this period, his subjects were still cityscapes inspired by the bright daylight of Mediterranean cities, but gradually he turned his attention to studies of cluttered storerooms, sometimes inhabited by mannequin-like hybrid figures. Later in his life De Chirico abandoned the metaphysical style and started painting more realistically. His later paintings never received the same critical praise as did those from his metaphysical period.

De Chirico also published a novel in 1925: Hebdomeros, the Metaphysician. His brother, Andrea de Chirico, who became famous as Alberto Savinio, was also a writer and a painter.
[from Wikipedia]

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