When security officer Jame Husband looks at a work of art, he imagines what stories he would tell about it. An aspiring writer and army veteran, he is working on a semi-biographical novel about a soldier who comes home from deployment to discover the world has moved on without him. He hopes it will be his first published work. For his staff pick, he explains why he could write a novel on Giorgio de Chirico’s The Great Machine.

“My favorite period in art has always been the early 20th century, where we saw Cubist and post-impressionist works. I remember when I first started working here and I came across this piece, I just found it stunning. It’s so beautiful. There’s something mystical about this painting, it causes my imagination to focus on the individual elements of it. It’s a monolith of Cubist-style objects that come together in a three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional plane. There’s a blue sky in the backdrop, but somehow it still seems otherworldly. I’m a big fan of science fiction, and of all the works in our collection this one feels the most like science fiction.”

Giorgio de Chirico, 'The Great Machine,' c. 1925, Oil on canvas, Gift of the Friends of the Academy, 1945

Giorgio de Chirico, ‘The Great Machine,’ c. 1925, Oil on canvas, Gift of the Friends of the Academy, 1945