Giorgio de Chirico’s painting, The Anguish of Departure, was created in 1913-1914, during the Metaphysical art movement. The artwork, housed in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, depicts a desolate cityscape with an overall feeling of emptiness and latent anguish.
The title encapsulates the painting’s theme, with central figures that appear to be saying goodbye to each other while surrounded by a horse-drawn cart and a train along the horizon. This depiction effectively mirrors the concept of departure itself. What makes this piece more striking is its unusual light element that adds to its sense of uncertainty.
Measuring 33 1/2 x 27 1/4 inches (85.09 x 69.21 cm), The Anguish of Departure is an oil on canvas painting that uses warm colors; yellow dominates and brown undertones create depth in the otherwise one-dimensional cityscape.
Regarding subject matter, Giorgio de Chirico chose inspiration from Italian piazzas and train stations as they drew analogies between psychological mindset or mood and physical space’s landscape itself.
Overall, Giorgio De Chirico’s masterpiece presents an eerie atmosphere portraying a melancholic scene with strange proportions representing human anxieties precisely through visual metaphors designed to evoke feelings of loneliness yet powerful impactful artwork whose meaning inspires observers around the world even until now after more than hundred years since it was first created.