The Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico is the founder of the Metaphysical art movement and recognised as one of the most important Surrealist painters of the 20th century.
Born in Greece in 1888 to Italian parents, he began his studies in 1900 at the Athens Polytechnic Institute. His formative years were spent in Munich at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, and in Milan, Florence, and Paris, where he was part of the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d'Automne. During this time he was influenced by his association with Constantin Brancusi, André Derain and Max Jacob. Inspired by the Parisian Dada movement, Chirico painted his famous works "Hector and Andromache" and "The Disturbing Muses".
Unable to remain in Paris because of the First World War, Giorgio de Chirico returned to Italy where he founded the Scuola Metafisica with contemporaries Filippo de Pisis and Carlo Carrà. His first solo exhibition was held at the Casa d'Arte Bragaglia in Rome in 1918. During this time he was a leader of the artistic movement Gruppo Valori Plastici or "Return to Order", a reaction to the war striving to revive classicism and realism in painting. A solo exhibition was held at the Galleria Arte in Milan in 1921, and he was a participant in the Venice Biennale in 1924. Other internationally notable shows took place over the next decade in London, Paris, and New York.
Though best known for his surrealist and metaphysical paintings, he embraced Renaissance and Baroque art in the 1920s, much to the disappointment of his supporters. His most well-known paintings are of his empty, eerie cityscapes painted in the decade from 1910 to 1920. Containing haunted dreamlike scenes littered with symbols, his most famous works include the "Metaphysical Town Square" series.
Giorgio de Chirico married Russian ballet dancer Raissa Gurievich Kroll in 1925. He began designing the scenery and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev's ballet Le Bal in 1929 and frequently designed for ballet and opera throughout the rest of his career. Devoted also to writing, he published his novel "Hebdòmeros" in 1929 and many essays, treatises on artistic technique, poetry, autobiographies, drama, and his own “Memoirs”. Giorgio de Chirico was a prolific painter and continued painting into his 90s, dying in Rome in 1978