Giorgio De Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian artist known for his depictions of dreamlike town squares and still lifes. “To become truly immortal a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere,” he once mused.
Born on July 10, 1888, in Volos, Greece to Italian parents, the artist went on to study at the High School of Fine Arts in Athens before attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. While in Germany, he developed an interest in the mythological subject matter of Symbolist painters like Arnold Böcklin. Moving to Florence after finishing school, he began producing some of his hallmark works, among them, Enigma of an Afternoon (1910), Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (1914), and The Song of Love (1914). In 1917, helped by his friend Carlo Carrà, De Chirico introduced his ideas surrounding what he called Metaphysical painting into writing. Shortly thereafter—though he had gained success and influenced René Magritte and André Breton—he renounced not only Metaphysical and Surrealist painting but all of Modern Art, with his essay The Return of Craftsmanship (1919). Revisiting traditional iconography and techniques found in Neoclassical and Baroque paintings, the works he produced disappointed many critics of the time.
The artist died in Rome, Italy on November 20, 1978. Today, De Chirico's works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.