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Definition: Chirico, Giorgio de from Philip's Encyclopedia

Italian painter, b. Greece. Chirico was founder of the quasi-surrealist 'metaphysical painting' movement. He painted still lifes and empty, dream-like landscapes in exaggerated perspective. In the 1930s he repudiated all modern art in favour of paintings in the style of the Old Masters. See also surrealism

Summary Article: Chirico, Giorgio de
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


Italian artist

Born in Volo, Greece, of Sicilian parents, he worked in Paris, and with Carlo Carrà in Italy, where he helped to found the Valori Plastici review in 1918. About 1910 he began to produce a series of dreamlike pictures of deserted squares, such as Nostalgia of the Infinite (1911, in the Museum of Modern Art, New York). These had considerable influence on the Surrealists, with whom he exhibited in Paris in 1925. His style, with that of Carlo Carrà, is often called "metaphysical painting", a term which he reserved for his work after 1915, which included semi-abstract geometric figures and stylized horses. In 1929 he wrote Hebdomeros, a dream novel, but in the 1930s he renounced all his previous work and reverted to an academic style and to a study of the techniques of the old masters. He published his autobiography, Memorie della mia vita, in 1945.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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