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Giorgio de CHIRICO

Born in 1888 inVolo (Greece), Giorgio de Chirico is a Greek born-Italian artist. At the age of 12,he attended the Athens Polytechnic Institute. When his father and sister died in 1905, he moved to Milan where he became fascinated by classical architecture. He then traveled to Munichand attended the School of Fine Arts. He discovered Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer’s work, and also Max Klinger and Arnold Bocklin’s paintings. In 1911, he joined his brother Alberto Savinio, writer and musician, in Paris. In 1912 and 1913, he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and met Picasso. He also exhibited his work in his studio in rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs. Apollinaire talked about Chirico’s work as an interior cerebral art, which he believed distinguished him from his contemporaries. Indeed, his art differed fromMatisse, Picasso or even Impressionists. Giorgio de Chirico was the creator of abnormal landscapes, disproportioned still-lives, mixing green and yellow skies, combined to passers-by petrified into animated statues. In 1915, he returned to Italy in Ferrare, and created with Carlo Carra the Pittura Metafisica (Metaphysical Painting) movement, in reference to the metaphysical issues which characterize his paintings following a nervous breakdown. In 1916, Bretonwas overwhelmed by “Le Cerveau de l’enfant”, (The Child’s brain), seen through Paul Guillaume’s shop window. Later on, admiring a painting by Titian, Chirico had an unexpected revelation, which reorientated him to the observations of old masters. From1919 to 1921, he founded the Italian group "Valori Plastici" (Plastic Values), praising a “returnto classical art”.He tried to discover the path to a lost paradise and reinserted in his paintings portraits, self-portraits, nudes andmythological scenes. Badly informed about his evolution, he was received as a precursor by the surrealists when he came back to Paris in 1924. In 1926, the movement’s members understood their mis-interpretation, but still continued toadmire Breton accused him to not be a modern artist but a nostalgic of ancient art. Yet, since the 1920s, Chirico was the discoverer of a new way of painting. The German New Objectivity, Surrealism in France and Belgium and Italian art, all had an artistic debt towards him. Ernst, Dali, Magritte, Dix, Carra, Miro and many other artists, have all been influenced by thework of Chirico, one of the most important founders of surrealism. At the end of his career, Chirico’s returned to metaphysical compositions. The Paris National MuseumofModern Art received in 2011 a donation of his later works, in order to establish an exhibition explaining the artist’s state of mind at this particular period. The series of paintings reveal the artist’s sense of humor, although maintaining a mysterious and awkward behavior regarding painting.

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