Giorgio de Chirico was born to Italian parents in Vólos, Greece, on July 10, 1888. In 1900 he began to study at the Athens Polytechnic Institute and attended evening classes in drawing from the nude. About 1906 he moved to Munich, where he attended the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. At this time he became interested in the art of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger and the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer.
De Chirico moved to Milan in 1909, to Florence in 1910, and to Paris in 1911. In Paris he was included in the Salon d’Automne in 1912 and 1913 and in the Salon des Indépendants in 1913 and 1914. As a frequent visitor to Guillaume Apollinaire’s weekly gatherings, he met Constantin Brancusi, André Derain, Max Jacob, and others.
Because of the war, in 1915 de Chirico returned to Italy, where he met Filippo de Pisis in 1916 and Carlo Carrà in 1917; they formed the group that was later called the Scuola Metafisica. The artist moved to Rome in 1918, and was given his first solo exhibition at the Casa d’Arte Bragaglia in that city in the winter of 1918–19. In this period he was one of the leaders of the Gruppo Valori Plastici, with whom he showed at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin. From 1920 to 1924 he divided his time between Rome and Florence. A solo exhibition of de Chirico’s work was held at the Galleria Arte in Milan in 1921, and he participated in the Venice Biennale for the first time in 1924.
In 1925 the artist returned to Paris, where he exhibited that year at Léonce Rosenberg’s Galerie l’Effort Moderne. In Paris his work was shown at the Galerie Paul Guillaume in 1926 and 1927 and at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher in 1927. In 1928 he was given solo shows at the Arthur Tooth Gallery in London and the Valentine Gallery in New York. In 1929 de Chirico designed scenery and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev’s production of the ballet Le Bal, and his book Hebdomeros was published. The artist designed for the ballet and opera in subsequent years, and continued to exhibit in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Japan. In 1945 the first part of his book Memorie della mia vita appeared. De Chirico died on November 20, 1978, in Rome, his residence for over thirty years.