Giorgio de Chirico, an Italian artist renowned for his portrayal of surreal town squares and still lifes, once pondered, “To become truly immortal, a work of art must escape all human limits: logic and common sense will only interfere.” Born on July 10, 1888, in Volos, Greece, to Italian parents, de Chirico embarked on his artistic journey by studying at the High School of Fine Arts in Athens, followed by the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. His time in Germany sparked an interest in the mythological themes prevalent in Symbolist painters like Arnold Böcklin.

Upon relocating to Florence, de Chirico created some of his most iconic pieces, including “Enigma of an Afternoon” (1910), “Mystery and Melancholy of a Street” (1914), and “The Song of Love” (1914). With the assistance of his friend Carlo Carrà, he articulated his ideas on Metaphysical painting in 1917, profoundly influencing artists like René Magritte and André Breton. However, in a surprising turn, de Chirico renounced Metaphysical and Surrealist painting, along with the entirety of Modern Art, in his essay “The Return of Craftsmanship” (1919). Revisiting traditional iconography and techniques reminiscent of Neoclassical and Baroque paintings, his departure from modernist trends disappointed many contemporary critics.

Throughout his life, de Chirico frequently replicated his earlier Metaphysical works, capitalizing on their popularity. He passed away in Rome, Italy, on November 20, 1978. Today, his artworks are esteemed holdings in esteemed institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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