Formation of creativity of Giorgio de Chirico, biography and paintings

  • Year of birth: July 10, 1888
  • Date of death: November 20, 1978
  • A country: Italy


In Greece, de Chirico gets a classical art education, in Munich he makes discoveries that help him develop his own style. Metaphysical painting of de Chirico originates in the German philosophy of the XIX century.
First, the XIX century in Germany, and especially in Bavaria, there is an unprecedented flourishing of culture. There are many new philosophical systems and aesthetic theories. Munich becomes the artistic center of Europe on a par with Paris.


After the death of his father in 1905, de Chirico feels lonely and lost. The artist plunges into the study of world culture and mythology, trying to find answers to his questions. The first thing he decides to overcome the lack of emotional balance and learn to think clearly. Through the study of the works of the German philosophers - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Auggo Weininger (1880-1903), the young artist begins to shape his world view and his own plastic theory.
At the beginning of the 20th century, among the students of Munich, the philosopher and psychologist Weininger, the author of the famous book Gender and Character, was especially popular. In his reasoning, Weininger uses the concepts of artist-researcher and artist-clergyman (by the way, he refers to the latter by Arnold Böcklin, whose work inspired de Chirico in that period). Weininger's works helped the artist to develop his own metaphysical theory. In particular, the German psychologist wrote that the constantly changing surrounding reality contains the obligatory so-called independent elements - geometric forms, constructions and symbols of objects. These independent elements are adopted by de Chirico in his work.
Since 1908, de Chirico begins to study the philosophical works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The ideas that he drew in them will also have a significant impact on his metaphysical painting. Following the example of the German philosopher, who in his reasoning pays a lot of attention to the process of self-improvement, de Chirico turns to transformational poetry as a way to discover the abilities of the observer in himself. Arthur Schopenhauer, in turn, forces the artist to reflect on the processes that originate in the objective world. De Chirico also speaks of the "atmosphere in moral sense", thus explaining his admiration for the work of Klinger and Becklin. The ideas of all the above-mentioned philosophers throughout their lives will be close to the artist and will find an original reflection in his work.


In July 1911, Giorgio de Chirico first comes to Paris. He is only twenty-three, and he is mainly interested in modern avant-garde movements, especially cubism with its analytical approach to the transfer of form.
The leaders of the cubist revolution - Picasso and Marriage seized the young artist, prompted him to search for new formal solutions. De Chirico later creates several canvases that have an unconventional format, for example, trapezoidal or triangular. In the first paintings of Fernand Léger (1881-1955) that appeared at the same time, de Chirico is attracted by the “mechanized” images of people who inspired him for a whole series of paintings with mannequin figures.
In Paris, de Chirico often visits the Louvre, where he is primarily acquainted with the art of antiquity. A lover of archeology and antiquity, the artist is looking for new impulses of the day of his metaphysical painting in Greek, Roman and Middle Eastern sculpture.
During his stay in Paris, de Chirico met a surrealist photographer Jean Eugene Atget (1856-1927) - a master of depiction of Parisian streets, houses and squares. In the works of de Chirico of this period there is the same atmosphere of sadness and emptiness as the photographs of Atget, which internally brings these masters together.


However, as evidenced by Guillaume Apollinaire, de Chirico "very soon departs from the Parisian avant-garde to create his own art, where empty palaces, towers, symbolic objects and mannequins come together, are filled with the impression of real… "
With his painting, which he calls "metaphysical," de Chirico seeks to destroy the logical explanations of reality.
Applying the synthesis of various influences, the artist develops the foundations of metaphysical painting, which will never become a direction in the broad sense of the word. Not subject to any clearly formed doctrine, metaphysical painting will be the lot of several artists - de Chirico himself, Carlo Kappa (1881-1966), Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964).
The metaphysical painting is characterized by the poetry of immobility, stiffness, tension in the presentation of form and color, the rigidity of the line and the sharpness of light and shade transitions. It relies on the absolute denial of reality, which realism presents to us, emphasizing the image of selected objects and the deliberate underlining of certain figurative elements.
These provisions lead to the fact that metaphysical artists turn to harmony, typical of the Italian Renaissance and the works of the great masters of the classics.
However, in metaphysical painting, objects placed in a single space and obeying a single perspective never complement each other, they are not interrelated. Elements of these compositions are combined using purely formalistic techniques. De Chirico is the first artist to embark on this journey as far back as 1910. Over the next few years, he will accumulate and systematize his inventions and discoveries. In 1917, when de Chirico’s figurative alphabet has already been quite clearly formed, another Italian artist, the younger Chirico for seven years, begins to follow the same road - Carlo Kappa. In 1919 he published a collection of texts entitled "Metaphysical Painting". Carra puts in his book and de Chirico's articles “On metaphysical art” and “We, metaphysics”, which were also published in the Roman journals “Cronache de'attuait” and “Valori plastici”.
According to Karr, metaphysical painting should reach a certain degree of authenticity in the transfer of reality in frozen and motionless images. This publication attracts the attention of the painter Giorgio Morandi, who soon joins de Chirico and Carr. The creative group formed in this way existed until 1920.
The fact that "metaphysics" combine elements of fiction and realistic images of reality in their paintings attracts surrealists to their work. Reigning in the canvases of “metaphysics”, the atmosphere of “disturbing unusualness” is very close to the ideas of surrealists, who seek to “change life” by freeing the subconscious and erasing the lines between sleep and reality. In the early 20s, de Chirico’s influence on the surrealists, especially on Max Ernst’s paintings, was enormous.

Paintings by Giorgio de Chirico

Italian squares
Self Portraits by Giorgio de Chirico
Archaeological cycle of paintings
Gladiator paintings cycle
Destruction of the Muses
Great metaphysician
Metaphysical interior with cookies
Metaphysical interior
Poet's Uncertainty
Walk of the philosopher
Montparnasse train station
Purity of imagination
Rising Sun
Prodigal son
Melancholy and the mystery of the street

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