Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico - 1

Giorgio de Chirico - 1

  • Date of birth: 10 Jul 1888
  • Date of death: 20 Nov 1978
  • Country: Italy


In Greece, de Chirico gets a classical art education in Munich makes discoveries that help him to develop his own style. Metaphysical painting of de Chirico originates in German philosophy of the XIX century.

At first the XIX century in Germany and especially in Bavaria, an unprecedented flowering of culture. There is a lot of new philosophical systems and theories esteticheskih. Munich became the artistic centre of Europe along with Paris.


After the death of his father in 1905 de Chirico feels lost and lonely. The artist plunged into the study of world culture and mythology, trying to find the answers to his questions. The first thing he decides to overcome a lack of mental equilibrium and to learn to think clearly. Through the study of works of German philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Friedrich Nietzsche (Michael von Lieb, 1844-1900) and Oggo Weininger (1880-1903), the young artist begins to shape his Outlook and private plastic theory.

In the beginning of XX century among the Munich students were especially popular philosopher and psychologist weninger, author of the famous book “Gender and character”. In their arguments weninger uses the concept of the artist-researcher and artist-cleric (by the way, the latter he considers Arnold Bocklin, whose work was inspired by de Chirico in the period). The work of Weininger helped the artist to develop his own metaphysical theory. German psychologist in particular wrote about the fact that the constantly changing reality contains a mandatory so-called independent elements — geometric shapes, designs and symbols items. These independent elements has adopted in his work de Chirico.

Since 1908 de Chirico began to study the philosophical works of Friedrich Nietzsche. Ideas that he learned, will also have a significant influence on his metaphysical painting. For example, the German philosopher who in his discussion pays attention to the process of self-improvement, de Chirico refers to the poetry of transformations as a way to discover abilities of the observer. Arthur Schopenhauer, in turn, causes the artist to reflect on the processes that originate in the objective world. De Chirico also speaks about “the atmosphere in the moral sense”, thus explaining his admiration for the works of Bocklin and Klinger. Ideas of all these philosophers throughout life will be close to the artist and will find the original reflection in his work.

Giorgio de Chirico - 2


In July 1911, Giorgio de Chirico for the first time gets to Paris. He was only twenty-three, and it is mainly interested in modern avant-garde movement, especially cubism, with its analytical approach to the form.

The leaders of the cubist revolution, Picasso and Braque seized the young artist, led him to search for new formal solutions. De Chirico creates a few canvases that have a nontraditional format, such as trapezoidal or triangular.
Appeared the first time the paintings of Fernand Leger (1881-1955) de Chirico attract “mechanized” images of people who inspired him on a series of paintings with figures-mannequins.

In Paris, de Chirico often visits the Louvre, where first met with the art of antiquity. A lover of archaeology and antiquity, the artist is looking for in the Greek, Roman and near Eastern sculpture new impetus to the day of his metaphysical painting.

During his stay in Paris de Chirico met with the photographer-surrealist Jean eugène atget (1856— 1927) — a master of images of a deserted Paris streets, houses and squares. In the works of de Chirico in this period present the same atmosphere of sadness and desolation, just like the photographs of atget that internally unites these artists.


However, as evidenced by Guillaume Apollinaire, de Chirico “very soon departs from the Parisian avant-garde, to create their own art, which combines appear together empty palaces, towers, symbolic objects and mannequins. All of this is depicted in solid colors, filled with a real impression of artifice…”

His painting, which he calls “metaphysical”, de Chirico seeks to destroy logical explanation of reality.

Using a synthesis of various influences, the artist developed the basics of metaphysical painting, which will never become the direction in the broadest sense of the word. Not inferior to any well-formed doctrine, metaphysical painting will be the lot of few artists — the de Chirico, Carlo Kappa (1881-1966), Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964).

Metaphysical painting features the poetry of stillness, the frozen, the tension in the submission form and color, the stiffness of the lines and sharpness black and white conversions. It is based on the absolute denial of reality, which presents us with realism, focusing on the image of selected objects and the deliberate underlining of individual figurative elements.

These provisions lead to the fact that artists are turning to the metaphysics of harmony, typical of the Italian Renaissance and the works of the great masters of the classics.

Giorgio de Chirico - 3

However, metaphysical painting, objects placed in a single space dominated by one term, never complement each other, they are interconnected. Elements of these compositions are combined using a purely formalistic techniques. De Chirico was the first artist who in this way back in 1910. In the next few years it will accumulate and systematize their inventions and discoveries. In 1917, when shaped alphabet de Chirico had to be quite well formed, the road starts to go the other Italian artist, de Chirico’s younger by seven years — Carlo Kappa. In 1919 he published a collection of texts called “Metaphysical painting”.
Carr puts in his book and articles de Chirico, “On metaphysical art”, and “We, metaphysics”, which was published also in the Roman journals “Cronache de attuait’a” and “Valori plastici”.

According to Carr, metaphysical painting must reach a certain degree of reliability in the transmission of reality in frozen and fixed images. This publication attracts the attention of the painter Giorgio Morandi, which soon joins with de Chirico and carrà. Thus formed creative team lasted until 1920.

The fact that “metaphysics” combine in his paintings the elements of fantasy and realistic images of reality, attracted to their art of the Surrealists. Reigning in the paintings of “metaphysical” atmosphere “disturbing strangeness” is very close to the ideas of the Surrealists, seeking to “change lives” through the release of subconscious and erase the boundaries between dream and reality. In the early 20-ies of the influence of de Chirico the Surrealists, especially max Ernst painting, it was huge.