Giorgio de Chirico was born on 10 July 1888 in Volos, Thessaly. His father, Evaristo de Chirico, was a Sicilian nobleman born in Florence who worked as a railway engineer on the construction of the Thessaly railway. His mother, Gemma Cervetto, was a noblewoman from Genoa. In August 1891, his brother Andrea (who changed his name to Alberto Savinio in 1914) was born in Athens where the de Chirico family had temporarily moved.
In 1896, the family returned to Volos where they stayed until 1899. The family then moved back to Athens, where Giorgio attended the Athens Polytechnic from 1903-1906. In May 1905 his father died.
In September 1906, the family moved to Munich where Giorgio attended the Academy of Fine Arts, whilst Andrea studied music. Giorgio studied Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger, and read the works of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Weininger with great interest. In May 1909, he joined his mother and brother who had moved to Milan.
In March 1910, the family moved to Florence where de Chirico painted his first metaphysical painting: The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon, inspired by a vision he had in Piazza Santa Croce. In July 1911 he joined his brother in Paris.
He exhibited for the first time at the Salon d'Automne in 1912 and later at the Salon des Indépendants. Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire took notice of his work. He met Paul Guillaume, his first art dealer. He began work on the mannequin theme.
In May 1915, de Chirico and Savinio returned to Italy to report to the military authorities and were sent on to Ferrara. De Chirico painted his first Metaphysical Interiors followed by The Great Metaphysician, Hector and Andromaca, The Troubadour and The Disquieting Muses. In 1916 he met Filippo de Pisis.
In 1917 he spent a few months at the Villa del Seminario army hospital for nervous disorders where Carlo Carrà was also recovered.
At the end of the year he moved to Rome with his mother where he published the essay Zeus the Explorer in the first issue of "Valori Plastici", dedicating it to the founder Mario Broglio.
In February 1919, de Chirico held his first one-man show in Rome at Casa d'Arte Bragaglia.
His essay We Metaphysicians was published at the time. He started to make copies of Old Master paintings.
In 1921, he held his first one-man show in Milan. He published articles on Böcklin, Klinger, Menzel, Thoma, Renoir e Raphael in a number of magazines. In 1922, Galerie Paul Guillaume held a solo show with fifty-five works. André Breton signed the catalogue introduction. He participated in the XIV Venice Biennial. The same year he met his future wife, the Russian ballerina Raissa Gourevitch Krol, in Rome. He returned to Paris and collaborated on the first issue of La Révolution Surréaliste.
He began a period in which he explored the metaphysics of light as well as Mediterranean myth, creating works such as the new Mannequins, the Archaeologists, the Horses by the Seashore, the Trophies and the Gladiators. Jean Cocteau's The Lay Mystery was published. In Milan, Scheiwiller published the artist's Small Treatise on Painting Technique.
In 1929, Pierre Levy s Éditions du Carrefour published Hebdomeros. He designed the costumes for the ballet Le Bal, produced by Sergei Diagilev (Montecarlo, Paris, London). He married Raissa on 3 February 1930.
Gaillmard published Apollinaire's Calligrammes illustrated with sixty-six lithographs by the artist. In the autumn of 1930, he met Isabella Pakszwer (later Isabella Far) who would become his second wife and remain his life-long companion.
At the end of 1931, his marriage to Raissa ended in separation. He left Paris with Isabella and moved to Florence. He exhibited at the XVIII Venice Biennial.
In 1933 he participated in the V Milan Triennial for which he painted the monumental fresco Italian Culture. He returned to Paris and illustrated Cocteau's Mythologie with ten lithographs on the Mysterious Baths theme.
He went to New York in 1936 where he exhibited his paintings at the Julien Levy Gallery. In June 1937, he received news from his brother of their mother's death.
In January he returned to Italy and settled in Milan, to then leave for Paris, as he was disgusted by the racial laws enacted Italy. He exhibited in Rome's III Quadrennial of National Art. In Florence during the war, he began creating terracotta sculptures: the Archaeologists, Hector and Andromaca, Hippolytus and his Horse and a Pietà. He published Il Signor Dudron and Brevis Pro Plastica Oratio, an essay on sculpture.
He wrote a number of art theory articles for various periodicals, which were later reunited in Comedy of Modern Art (Rome 1945). In 1944 he settled permanently in Rome. In 1945 he published the autobiographical books: The Memoirs of Giorgio de Chirico and 1918-1925. Recollections of Rome. Many exhibitions of the artist's work were held following the end of the Second World War. He began a fierce battle against the falsification of his works, a phenomenon which was inspired by the Surrealists in the 1920s. In June 1946, the Parisian Galerie Allard held a de Chirico exhibition, with Breton's approval, in which twenty-four fake metaphysical works painted by the Surrealist painter Oscar Dominquez were exhibited.
In July he married Isabella Pakszwer. During the course of 1947, he moved his studio to Piazza di Spagna n. 31 and the following year, made this his permanent residence and lived here until the end of his life.
At the end of 1948, he was elected an honorary member of the Royal Society of British Artists. In 1949, he was invited to hold a one-man show at the society's prestigious headquarters. On 5 May 1952, Alberto Savinio died in Rome.
He dedicated his time to producing lithographs and illustrated Manzoni's The Betrothed in 1965 and Quasimodo's translation of The Odyssey in 1968. He revisited earlier subject matter with particular focus on his use of colour, thus beginning that which is known as his Neometaphysical period. Towards the end of the 1960s, he began to cast bronze sculptures.
In 1970 in Milan, Palazzo Reale held an important retrospective of the artist's work. A significant exhibition was also held in Ferrara at Palazzo dei Diamanti.
In 1971, Claudio Bruni Sakraischik began publishing the
General Catalogue of Giorgio de Chirico's work. In 1972, he received the Ibico Reggino Prize.
In 1973, de Chirico created the Mysterious Baths Fountain in Milan's Sempione park at Palazzo dell'Arte for the XV Triennial of Milan.
In 1974, he was elected to the Academy of France. On 20 November, Giorgio de Chirico died in Rome at 90 years of age. In 1992, his remains were transferred to the San Francesco a Ripa church in the Trastevere quarter of Rome.