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Metaphysical painting
Metaphysical painting

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also known as 'Pittura Metafisica'

Carlo Carra and Giorgio De Cirico founded this modern, Italian artistic style in the city of Ferara in 1917. They were later joined by Mario Sironi, Ardengo Soffici, Alberto Savinio and Giorgio Morandi . They became the most prominent avant-garde style of the 1920's. De Cirico's early works already show a total commitment to content and an utter disregard for technique. His imagery was both figurative and illusionary, though the illusion is not an optical effect, but rather a surreal twist to a figment of reality. There is also use of symbolism; deliberate combinations of icons taken from art history and the field of psychology. Everything seems unnaturally still in De Cirico paintings, as if the artists wished to keep the scene in suspended animation; trapped between the waking and sleeping world, the conscious mind aware of its actions and the hazy, numb world beyond. The omens are ominous in connotation, and disturbing to look at. In 1917 he met the Futurist painter Carlo Carra and Carra became deeply influenced by De Cirico's style, moderating the portentous tension into a more refined, softer version. This is where the Pittura Metafisica was founded, the principles of which are stated in Carra's book “Metaphysical Painting”, published in 1918. Both De Cirico and Carra had a lot in common; both wanted to create in their art an alternate reality comprised of elements from their personal worlds. This small group dealt mostly in issues of the subconscious mind- in the same manner that allows our dreams to use everyday materials and reconstruct them into a surreal fantasy, adhering to surreal, convoluted logic- deliberately misplacing or mismatching common elements in an attempt to give them new significance.

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