Metaphysical Painting - An Italian art movement, Pittura Metafisica was founded in 1917 by Carlo Carrà (Italian, 1881-1966) and Giorgio de Chirico (Italian, 1888-1978), who met in Ferrara that year. They aimed to depict an alternative reality which engaged most immediately with the unconscious mind. In this style of painting, an illogical reality seemed credible. Using a sort of alternative logic, Carrà and de Chirico juxtaposed various ordinary subject -- typically including starkly rendered buildings, trains, and mannequins.
Giorgio de Chirico (Italian, born Greece, 1888-1978; worked in Paris 1911-15, 1925-39), The Anxious Journey, 1913, oil on canvas, 29 1/4 x 42 inches (74.3 x 106.7 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Giorgio de Chirico, Ariadne, 1913, oil and graphite on canvas, 53 3/8 x 71 inches (135.6 x 180 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See arcade and mythology.
Giorgio de Chirico, The Uncertainty of the Poet, 1913, oil on canvas, 106.0 x 94.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London.
Giorgio de Chirico, The Enigma of a Day (L'énigme d'une journée), 1914, oil on canvas, 6 feet 1 1/4 inches x 55 inches (185.5 x 139.7 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Giorgio de Chirico, The Song of Love (Le chant d'amour), 1914, oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 3/8 inches (73 x 59.1 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Giorgio de Chirico, The Duo (Les mannequins de la Tour Rose), 1915, oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 23 1/4 inches (81.9 x 59 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY. Mannequins were a pre-World War I motif for de Chirico. The figures simultaneously evoke a classical past and an anxiety about the state of contemporary art.
Giorgio de Chirico, Great Metaphysical Interior, 1917, oil on canvas, 37 3/4 x 27 3/4 inches (95.9 x 70.5 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Giorgio de Chirico, The Sacred Fish (I pesci sacri), 1919, oil on canvas, 29 1/2 x 24 3/8" (74.9 x 61.9 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Giorgio de Chirico, The Painter's Family, 1926, oil on canvas, 146.4 x 114.9 cm, Tate Gallery, London. Several years after World War I, de Chirico reimages mannequins as members of a painter's family. The grouping of mannequins is reminiscent of traditional depictions of the Holy Family.
Although their alliance lasted less than a year, and their styles changed completely within three years, there were several other artists associated with them including Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), Mario Sironi (1885-1961), and Filippo de Pisis (1896-1956). Metaphysical Painting provided significant impetus for the development of Dada and Surrealism.
Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890-1964), Still Life, 1916, oil on canvas, 32 1/2 x 22 5/8 inches (82.5 x 57.5 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1938, oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 15 5/8 inches (24.1 x 39.7 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Among the artists greatly influenced by de Chirico's work:
Herk Van Tongeren (American, -1987), Teatro XI,1982, cast and fabricated bronze, 1 / 3, 66 x 150 x 84 inches, Grounds For Sculpture, NJ. This sculpture consists of geometric objects lying in a stage-like setting.
Also see Futurism.