Born: 1888. Died: 1978.
Italian painter born in Greece and trained first in engineering - and then as a painter.
He studied in Munich and in Paris. From 1915 to 1917 he was in the Italian army. In 1917 he met Carra in the Ferrara army hospital; together they founded Pittura metafisica. He spent some years in the 10s and 30s in Paris; otherwise lived in Milan, Florence and Rome.
He published a novel in 1929, and memoirs in 1945 and 1962.
His first allegiance as painter was with symbolism, especially the mysterious art of Becklin and Klinger. He found a similar quality in early Renaissance painting, such as that of Uccello and Piero della Francesca. In 1910-11 he painted his first townscapes, made enigmatic and stage - like by simplifications, distorted perspective and a sense of deserted spaces. These were shown in Paris in 1911.
He then began to people his pictorial stages with manikins and ambiguous elements, evoking ancient myths and modern science in an atmosphere of suspended time.
His stress on the poetic qualities of objects was a resource for both dada and surrealism; to Breton he was the essential pioneer of surrealism. De Chirico's painting, however, now tended to a more gratifying mode combining elements of Renoir and Rubens with direct references to the antique. The avant garde came to despise him yet his part homage to, part parody of great traditions of art has stimulated aspects of 1980s figurative painting.
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