Giorgio de Chirico’s pictures tend to ask more questions than they answer. Here, the self-described metaphysical painter used unexpected combinations of common objects, unusual perspective, and fractured space to create a scene that is at once familiar and strangely disquieting. You may wonder about specifics (for example, what are the various objects in the painting and how do they relate to the engineer in the title?), but the overall effect of the work is a palpable sense of longing. Such unease and uncertainty is not altogether surprising in a painting created during the depths of World War I.