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Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico

*  1888 Volos
† 1978 Rom

Giorgio de Chirico, son of Italian parents, first graduated as an engineer before studying painting at the Polytechnicon in Athens and, from 1906 to 1909, at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. Here, de Chirico dealt with Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy and Arnold Böcklin's and Max Klinger's fantastic image world, which strongly influenced his early works. In 1911 de Chirico went to Paris for four years. A stay in Turin inspired him to paint dreamlike city landscapes, which were formed by a strange atmosphere of silence and desertion and only livened up by statues and the so-called 'manichini' [jointed dolls]. During his military service in Ferrara in 1917 de Chirico met the Italian painter Carlo Carrà. Together they further develop the aesthetic of the 'Pittura metafisica' and de Chirico's main works of this stylistic period like e.g. 'Ettore e Andromaché' (1917) and 'Le Muse inquietanti' (1918) came into existence. After the end of the war de Chirico wrote for the journal 'Valori Plastici' around which an anti-avant-gardistic artist movement was formed. In the following years, de Chirico dissociated himself from his metaphysical works, turned to the highly renaissance-like classic of Novecento and learned the old master technique of panel and tempera painting during stays in Rome and Florence. In 1925 de Chirico moved once more to Paris, where his metaphysical works found the highest approval of the surrealists. At the end of the 1920s the tendency to a pathetic neo-baroque was intensified in de Chirico's artistic work. At the same time he published his visionary novel 'Hebdomeros' and worked as an illustrator and stage and costume designer. Since 1930 de Chirico lived alternatively in Florence, Milan and Paris, before settling down in Rome in 1944. In the 1950s and 60s de Chirico often resorted to his metaphysical period and works from the 1920s, made replicas and bronze statues from his Ferrara-period and carried on the series of self-portraits In spite of this less innovative late work, de Chirico is counted among the central figures of 20th century art. As a precursor of the 'Pittura metafisica' he strongly influenced the following style developments of Surrealism, New Objectivity and Magic Realism. In 1974 Giorgio de Chirico was admitted at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris and received the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1976.