De Chirico[note 1] was born in Volos, Greece, to a Genovese mother and a Sicilian father. After studying art in Athens—mainly under the guidance of the influential Greek painter Georgios Roilos and Georgios Jakobides—and Florence, he moved to Germany in 1906, following his father's death in 1905. He entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he read the writings of the philosophers Nietzsche,Arthur Schopenhauer and Otto Weininger and studied the works of Arnold Böcklinand Max Klinger.
He returned to Italy in the summer of 1909 and spent six months in Milan. At the beginning of 1910, he moved to Florence where he painted the first of his 'Metaphysical Town Square' series, The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon, after the revelation he felt in Piazza Santa Croce. He also painted The Enigma of the Oraclewhile in Florence. In July 1911 he spent a few days in Turin on his way to Paris. De Chirico was profoundly moved by what he called the 'metaphysical aspect' of Turin: the architecture of its archways and piazzas. It was the city of Nietzsche. De Chirico moved to Paris in July 1911, where he joined his brother Andrea. Through his brother he met Pierre Laprade, a member of the jury at the Salon d'Automne, where he exhibited three of his works: Enigma of the Oracle, Enigma of an Afternoon and Self-Portrait. During 1913 he exhibited paintings at theSalon des Indépendants and Salon d’Automne; his work was noticed by Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, and he sold his first painting, The Red Tower. In 1914, through Guillaume Apollinaire, he met the art dealer Paul Guillaume, with whom he signed a contract for his artistic output.