Chirico, Georgio de

Chirico, Georgio de Biography

Italian painter, who with Carlo Carra and Giorgio Morandi, founded the pittura metafisica style of oil painting founded the metaphysical school. Chirico was born in Volos, Greece, the son of an Italian engineer. He studied art in Athens and in Munich, where he was strongly influenced by the allegorical works of the 19th-century Swiss painter Arnold Bocklin. In Turin and Florence and in Paris, where he settled in 1911. De Chirico gained the admiration of Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire with his ambiguously ominous scenes of deserted piazzas with classical statues, dark arcades, and small, isolated figures overpowered by their own shadows and by severe, oppressive architecture. Such artworks are exemplified by The Soothsayer's Recompense (1913) and The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (1914). These early metaphysical artworks, through sharp contrasts of light and shadow and exaggerated perspective, evoke a haunting, ominous dream world. As an army conscript in Ferrara in 1915 de Chirico met the futurist painter Carlo Carra; together they founded the magazine Pittura Metafisica in 1920. From 1915 to 1925 de Chirico painted bizarre, faceless mannequins and juxtaposed wildly unrelated objects in his still lifes, a technique adopted by the surrealists. De Chirico's Metaphysical oil paintings exercised a profound influence on the painters of the Surrealist movement in the 1920s and influenced such surrealists as Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dali.

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