Monday, July 28, 2008


His mother was Genovese and his father was Sicilian, but Giorgio de Chirico was actually born in Volos, Greece, in 1888. He studied in Athens and Florence, and returned to Florence to paint the first of his "Metaphysical Town Square" series, The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon, after a vision he had in the Piazza Santa Croce.

De Chirico moved to Paris in 1911, and showed his work at the Salon des Independants in 1913, where it caught the eye (and approval) of Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire. Here he sold his first painting. A pre-Surrealist who influenced a great many artists, the Italian painter founded the Scuola Metafisica art movement.

Piazza Santa Croce, Florence, was a revelation to de Chirico. In the Basilica di Santa Croce, the church on the piazza, there are frescoes by Giotto, and the tombs of illustrious dead Italians, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini, and Machiavelli. Dante stands guard out front.

The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon, by Giorgio di Chirico, 1910

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