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Time: MoMA Project

Giorgio de Chirico

The Anxious Journey


Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 29 ¼ x 42”

What I thought that was particularly special about this painting was the fact that it was tiring for the eye to look at. It made me feel dizzy in the head. The painting reminded me of the image discussed in class where Jesus was sitting on Mary’s lap. The perspective of that image was unusual, making the audience feel like they were supposed to be a part of the scene and the event happening in the frame. With this painting, I kept switching observation positions; I stared at the image from left, right and center perspectives. Each of these viewpoints seemed the same no matter which side I looked at the painting from. It felt as if the center line of the painting was moving as I was switching positions. The way the artist has painted the doorways in this image have been arranged in an area that allows a plausible representation of a believable space, making me feel as if I was in the frame of this painting.

Looking at this image in terms of time, I think of eternity. This is because it looks as if the row of columns leads nowhere, or the audience doesn’t even get the chance of knowing where they lead because of the darkness. In terms of time, in this painting, it could be a contracting moment as there is a brick wall seen on the outside of the columns, keeping the approaching locomotive outside which can cause emotional tension. However, time could also be expanding here as there is one column showing the outside world, giving the audience some sense of freedom. The fact that both these contradictions are present in the painting shows that this could possibly be a dream state, where time moves quickly, or slowly. It is unknown.

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