July 18, 2009

The Art of Rene Magritte

Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967) was a Belgian painter. He was one of the leading figures of the Surrealist movement. Most of his career was spent in Brussels, apart from the three years he lived in the suburbs of Paris. His alter ego, who frequently appears in his pictures, was an anonymous bowler-hatted clerk, who lived as Magritte did – in a Brussels suburb.


(Magritte, Rene. The Son of Man c. 1964.
oil on canvas. private collection.)

After initially working in a Cubist-Futurist style, he turned to Surrealism in 1925 under the influence of de Chirico and by the following year had already emerged as a highly individual artist.


(Magritte, Rene. The False Mirror c. 1935.
oil on canvas.)

In 1927 he moved to Paris where he met members of the Surrealist movement group, including Andre Breton, Jean Arp, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro. Three years later he returned to Belgium in 1930.


(Magritte, Rene. The Human Condition c. 1935.
oil on canvas.)

Magritte’s paintings explore a dreamlike irrationality, where positive becomes negative, glass holds the image seen through it and different realities collide. He reveals the slippery nature of language, challenges solidity and scale, and queries the relationship between the art and the visible world.


(Magritte, Rene. The Great War c. 1964.
oil on canvas.)

Magritte’s most famous works include The Son of Man, where the viewer is invited to gaze upon a man with his face hidden, making the viewer all the more curious about the small part of the picture that cannot be seen.


(Magritte, Rene. Black Magic c. 1933.
oil on canvas.)

Magritte repeatedly exploited ambiguities concerning real objects and images of them (many of his works feature paintings within paintings), inside and out-of-doors, day and night. He also made Surrealist analogues of a number of famous paintings. He was one of the few Surrealists inspired by nature and his work is much appreciated here!

Enjoy :)

Reference: King, R. Art. New York: Dk Publishing, 2008.

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