Giorgio de Chirico

Italian, 1888-1978

The Anguish of Departure

Giorgio de Chirico (Italian, 1888–1978). The Anguish of Departure, 1913–14. Oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 27 1/4 inches (85.1 x 69.2 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1939 (RCA1939:14.3). © Estate of Giorgio de Chirico / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

© Estate of Giorgio de Chirico / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

download

© Estate of Giorgio de Chirico / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Estate of Giorgio de Chirico / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

The Anguish of Departure, 1913-1914

Artwork Details

Collection Highlight

Materials

oil on canvas

Measurements

support: 33 7/8 x 27 5/8 x 1 1/4 inches (86.04 x 70.17 x 3.18 cm); framed: 41 3/4 x 35 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches (106.05 x 90.17 x 8.26 cm)

Collection Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Credit

Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1939

Accession ID

RCA1939:14.3

In his own words, Giorgio de Chirico aspired “to live in the world as an immense museum of strange things, of curious variegated toys that change their appearance.” He wanted to transform everyday objects into something altogether new in order to create feelings of uncertainty, alienation, and even fear. In The Anguish of Departure, the train along the horizon, the horse-drawn cart in the foreground, and the two central figures that are presumably saying goodbye directly reflect the concept of departure introduced in the work’s title. Anguish, however, is expressed through the scene’s unusual light and overall feeling of emptiness. Many of these elements likely refer to de Chirico’s life experiences. His father, who was a railroad engineer, died when the artist was just sixteen years old. This significant event is conceivably alluded to in several ways throughout the composition: the overall mood and title, the train, and the tall tower, a motif that de Chirico frequently utilized as a symbolic reference to man and particularly his father. After his death, de Chirico left Athens, Greece, where he grew up and began to travel. This eventually brought him to his parents’ native Italy. There, he was fascinated by the wide Renaissance plazas and arcaded buildings, subjects that also feature prominently in this work.