Sandro Chia was born in Florence, Italy on April 20, 1946. He first studied at the Instituto d'Arte; then enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, earning his diploma in 1969. He traveled extensively in India, Turkey and throughout Europe before settling in Rome in 1970. He continued to work in the conceptual field, exhibiting many times in Rome and in Europe during the 1970s. Having obtained a scholarship from the city of Monchengladbach in Germany, he worked there from September 1980 until August 1981 and then moved to New York from 1981 through 1982.
Chia spends about six months every year in the United States and six months at his Tuscan castle in Montalcino, a 13th century fortress that he remodeled. The house which he called Castello Romitorio, had once been used as a convent, and a jail. He has two sons, Filippo and Antonio.
Chia was known for his association with the "transavantgarde" movement. The premise of the movement was the interest in reviving the art of the past to form a foundations for present art forms. It gave them more freedom to take art in new directions while taking imagery from the past. Other artists who employed these methods were Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, Nicole de Maria and Mimmo Paladino. In his work, fiery elements express the infinite resources of an active and inspired imagination. Chia dazzles viewers with imagery derived from the powerful examples of his predecessors, in particular, Giorgio de Chirico and Marc Chagall.