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In Greece, de Chirico receives a classical art education; in Munich, he makes discoveries that help him develop his own style. De Chirico's metaphysical painting originates in 19th-century German philosophy.
At the beginning of the XIX century in Germany, and especially in Bavaria, an unprecedented flowering of culture took place. There are many new philosophical systems and aesthetic theories. Munich becomes the art center of Europe along with Paris.
DE CHIRICO AND GERMAN PHILOSOPHY
After the death of his father in 1905, de Chirico feels lonely and lost. The artist plunges headlong into the study of world culture and mythology, trying to find answers to his questions. First of all, he decides to overcome the lack of peace of mind and learn to think clearly. Thanks to the study of the works of German philosophers - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Oggo Weininger (1880-1903), the young artist begins to form his own worldview and his own plastic theory.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the philosopher and psychologist Weininger, the author of the famous book Paul and Character, was especially popular among Munich students. In his reasoning, Weininger uses the concepts of an artist-researcher and an artist-clergyman (by the way, he refers to the latter Arnold Böcklin, whose work inspired de Chirico at that time). Weininger's work helped the artist develop his own metaphysical theory. The German psychologist, in particular, wrote that the constantly changing surrounding reality contains mandatory so-called independent elements - geometric shapes, designs and symbols of objects. It is these independent elements that are adopted by de Chirico.
Since 1908, de Chirico began to study the philosophical works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The ideas he gleaned from them will also have a significant impact on his metaphysical painting. Following the example of the German philosopher, who in his arguments pays much attention to the process of self-improvement, de Chirico turns to the poetry of transformations as a way to discover the abilities of the observer. Arthur Schopenhauer, in turn, makes the artist think about the processes that originate in the objective world. De Chirico also talks about the atmosphere in moral sense, thus explaining his admiration for the work of Klinger and Böcklin. The ideas of all the above-mentioned philosophers throughout life will be close to the artist and will find original reflection in his work.
In July 1911, Giorgio de Chirico first arrived in Paris. He is only twenty-three, and he is mainly interested in modern avant-garde movements, especially Cubism with its analytical approach to the transfer of form.
The leaders of the cubist revolution - Picasso and Braque captured the young artist, prompted him to search for new formal solutions. De Chirico subsequently creates several canvases that have an unconventional format, for example, trapezoidal or triangular.
In the first paintings of Fernand Leger (1881–1955) that appeared at the same time, de Chirico attracted mechanized images of people who inspired him for a series of paintings with mannequin figures.
In Paris, de Chirico often visits the Louvre, where he is primarily acquainted with the art of antiquity. A lover of archeology and antiquity, the artist is looking for new impulses of the day of his metaphysical painting in Greek, Roman and Middle Eastern sculpture.
During his stay in Paris, de Chirico met a surrealist photographer, Jean Eugène Atget (1856–1927), a master of depicting Parisian deserted streets, houses and squares. In the works of de Chirico of this period, there is the same atmosphere of sadness and emptiness as the photographs of Atge, which internally brings these artists together.
However, as Guillaume Apollinaire testifies, de Chirico very soon departs from the Paris avant-garde to create his own art, where empty palaces, towers, symbolic objects and mannequins appear together. All this is depicted in pure colors, overflowing with the impression of artificiality of real ...
With his painting, which he calls metaphysical, de Chirico seeks to destroy the logical explanations of reality.
Using a synthesis of various influences, the artist develops the foundations of metaphysical painting, which will never become a trend in the broad sense of the word. Not subordinate to any clearly formed doctrine, metaphysical painting will become the lot of several artists - de Chirico himself, Carlo Kappa (1881-1966), Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964).
Metaphysical painting is characterized by the poetry of stillness, stagnation, tension in the presentation of form and color, the rigidity of the line and the sharpness of the cut-off transitions. It is based on the absolute denial of reality that realism presents to us, focusing on the depiction of selected objects and the intentional emphasis on individual figurative elements.
These provisions lead to the fact that metaphysical artists turn to harmony inherent in the Italian Renaissance and the works of the great masters of classics.
However, in metaphysical painting, objects placed in a single space and subject to a single perspective never complement each other, they are not interconnected. Elements of these compositions are combined using purely formalistic techniques. De Chirico is the first artist to embark on this journey back in 1910. Over the next few years, he will accumulate and systematize his inventions and finds. In 1917, when the figurative alphabet of de Chirico was already quite clearly formed, another Italian artist, seven-year-old junior de Chirico, began to take the same path - Carlo Kappa. In 1919 he published a collection of texts called Metaphysical Painting.
Carra also places in his book articles by Chirico - On Metaphysical Art and We, Metaphysicists, who were also published in the Roman journals Cronache deattuaita and Valori plastici.
According to Carr, metaphysical painting should reach a certain degree of certainty in the transmission of reality in frozen and motionless images. This publication attracts the attention of the painter Giorgio Morandi, who soon joins de Chirico and Carra. The creative group formed in this way lasted until 1920.
The fact that metaphysicians combine elements of science fiction and a realistic depiction of reality in their paintings attracts surrealists to their work. The atmosphere of alarming unusualness reigning in the canvases of metaphysicians is very close to the ideas of the surrealists who seek to change their lives by freeing the subconscious and erasing the lines between sleep and reality. In the early 1920s, de Chirico's influence on the surrealists, especially on Max Ernst's painting, was enormous.