Metaphysical painting – (from the Greek meta – after and phisika – nature, metaphysics – the science of spiritual phenomena inaccessible to experienced knowledge, the transcendental principles of the world) – a trend in Italian art that arose in 1916 in Ferrara. Its creators were painters Giorgio De Chirico, Carlo Carra, Giorgio Morandi. Subsequently, Morandi and Carra changed their style and de Chirico remained the only leader, in the paintings of which the geometrization and stiffness of forms symbolized “eternity, the metaphysics of time and space”, irrational connections between externally unrelated objects. Metaphysical art was not widespread, but had a great influence on other artists. It was close to symbolism and became the forerunner of another powerful art movement – surrealism.The term “metaphysical art” can be used in a broader sense as a synonym for irrational, illogical, mysterious.
In the years 1916-1922. Giorgio De Chirico and Alberto Savinio published a series of theoretical works on metaphysical painting. Two fundamental principles of metaphysical poetics were formulated by them as “phantom” and “irony”. The paintings of “metaphysicians”, filled with images of classical architecture and plastic, expressed a fantastic dimension, imbued with a sense of vague expectation and anxiety, where figures resembling statues and mannequins loomed in numb spaces. The dummy theme becomes the leitmotif of the paintings by De Chirico and Cara. Morandi, on the contrary, turned to a still life in which objects are likened to dummies or turning blanks. These kind of masks of things are located in geometrically organized and devoid of optical unity spaces.
Metaphysical canvases are full of hints, associations, literary references. In them, a dream and a metaphor become the basis for moving reality beyond the framework of ordinary logic, and the contrast between the realistic accuracy of objects and the lyrical, expressive atmosphere enhances this tension.
The movement did not create either its own school or a specific group, it was rather a vivid expression of the crisis of Italian futurism and in this sense it had a huge impact in Italy and throughout Europe, paving the way for other neoclassical trends (Valori plastici and Novecento) )
Masters of metaphysical painting: Giorgio De Chirico, Carlo Cara, Alberto Savinio, Luigi De Pisis, Giorgio Morandi.