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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

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© 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.

Giorgio de Chirico

Italian, 1888-1978

The Anguish of Departure, 1913-1914

oil on canvas

support: 33 1/2 x 27 1/4 inches (85.09 x 69.21 cm); framed: 41 3/4 x 35 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches (106.045 x 90.17 x 8.89 cm); framed: 42 x 35 1/2 x 5 inches (106.68 x 90.17 x 12.7 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1939

RCA1939:14.3

Currently On View

More Details

Inscriptions

no inscriptions

Provenance

collection Bernard M. Pouissonnier;
sold to the Albright Art Gallery, August 28, 1939

Class

Paintings (visual works)

Work Type

Oil painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Verbal Description Audio

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.
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