Monday, March 24, 2008

The Visual Antics of Rene' Magritte

Mysteries of the Horizon

The Therapist

The Empire of Lights

Rene' Magritte
The first painting Rene' Magritte allowed to be called Surrealist was The Lost Jockey, painted in 1926. When his first art show was badly received in his home country of Belgium, Magritte moved to Paris. There he was a part of the Surrealist group, which included Max Ernst, Dali and Andre' Breton, among other notables.

Magritte's images often depict a juxtaposition of visually similar objects, of various categories but that exchange or intermix qualities or unite as hybrids.
Common symbols in Magritte's work include mirrors, windows, clouds and pictures within pictures.

One of the interesting elements of Magritte's work is that though technically perfect or realistic, it is the arrangement and morphing of the attributes of his subjects that makes the work surrealistic.

Ceci n'est pa une pipe is engraved on the bottom of the painting because, in fact, it is not a pipe, it is a painting of a pipe. Through a series of these Ceci n'cest pa paintings, Magritte enjoyed pointing out that no matter how realistically perfect the painted item, it could never, by virtue of its lack of function, be real.

"Seeing is what matters", said Magritte. He resisted verbal interpretations of his work and was particularly mistrustful of psychological explanations for his paintings.


  1. As a younger woman, I first noticed Magritte from the cover of a Jackson Brown album in college, I guess that was.

    In the spring of 1979, when I was a senior in college I did a very madcap thing... Other kids were going to Florida for spring break, something that seemed mundane and banal to me. My good friend was studying in Paris that year, so I thought that might be a better place for spring break!

    And I went. Another story for another day. My long winded point is this... when I was in Paris there was a huge Magritte exhibition at the Pompidou Center.

    I loved it so much that I went twice and as a result have been moved by his images since.

    Thank you for posting this!

  2. Fran:

    I too would take Paris any day over Florida! Though there is the Dali museaum... :-)

    I'm always up for Paris adventure stories, btw!

    I love your word "madcap". I've always loved that word.

    As I'm accustomed to saying (and I really mean it)

    Thanks for stopping by...

    Pagan Sphinx

  3. You gurrrls need to get a room.

    I'm offering my place, as a not-quite-mid-point, but hey, It's what I got.

    And dinner's included.

    So pick a date, and don't be late!

  4. Now I have to go dig out my long forgotten surrealist art book I picked up on deep, deep discount when I was in school in Dijon. I love thumbing through that book. Why is tucked away?

    I love what you're doing with art here on your blog. It's wonderful.

  5. CR: you're funny and cute!

    Dcup: You're much too kind, as I'm so lacking in talent and originally , alas. Still, the blog has become a very positive outlet for me. Dijon??? You lucky, you!



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