Giorgio De Chirico
The founder of the Metaphysical art movement, Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian (Born in Volos,Greece)surrealist painter, whose work implied a metaphysical questioning of reality. After studying in Athens and Florence, he moved to Germany to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he was influenced by the writings of Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. On his way to Paris, De Chirico traveled back to Florence and later to Turin, where he was moved by the metaphysical beauty of the surroundings. He exhibited his works at the Salon des Independants for the first time in 1913, and sold his first painting, the Red Tower, later signing with the art dealer Paul Guillame.
Upon the outbreak of the First World War, De Chirico returned to Italy, and enlisted for the military. However, he was considered unfit for combat and was assigned to work in a military hospital. During this time, he continued to paint in his unique metaphysical style. In the fall of 1919, De Chirico published an article in an art publication, in which he advocated for a return to the classical iconography by such masters as Raphael and Signorelli. He also openly criticized modern art and became an outspoken opponent of it.
By 1939, he was painting in a neo-Baroque style, heavily influenced by Peter Paul Rubens, but his later works never received the critical praise that was lavished upon his earlier works. He resented the lack of praise for his later works, which he considered more mature and of better quality. Both for profit and as an act of revenge, De Chirico produced back-dated forgeries of his own works, and denounced many of his previous works as forgeries.
De Chirico continued to be a prolific artist, painting up until his 90th year. His paintings strongly influenced the surrealist movement, providing inspiration for such prominent artists as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Philip Guston. His paintings have further helped inspire books, music and even video games.