Departure (1932-33) by Max Beckmann

Departure - Max Beckmann - 1932 - 1935

Artwork Information

ArtistMax Beckmann
Date1932 - 1935
MediumOil on Canvas
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationThe Museum of Modern Art, New York

About Departure

The artwork titled “Departure” is a seminal creation by the noted artist Max Beckmann, composed between the years 1932 and 1935. This oil on canvas painting belongs to the Expressionist movement, a genre that typically emphasizes emotional experience over physical reality. As a genre painting, it reflects everyday scenes or narrative content. “Departure” currently resides within the prestigious collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“Departure” is a triptych, a work of art divided into three sections. The central panel features a royal couple and a child in a boat, embodying a sense of calm and dignity amidst the chaos flanking them. The king is depicted with a blue drapery and a golden crown, while the queen holds the child, both clothed in ornate garments that evoke a timeless, regal bearing.

The left and right panels, in stark contrast to the central one, are rife with turmoil and oppression. These panels illustrate scenes of torment and suffering with figures clad in contemporary attire indicative of the 1930s interwoven with historical or fantastical elements, encompassing Max Beckmann’s response to the socio-political climate of his time.

Distinctly angular and bold lines, a hallmark of Beckmann’s style, define the forms, contributing to the painting’s intense emotional impact. The rich, albeit somber, color palette further accentuates the profound thematic contrasts and adds depth to the narrative-focused composition. Beckmann’s use of symbolism and allegory in “Departure” offers a poignant commentary on the human condition, revealing his critical perspective during a period of significant political unrest.

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