Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary

23 May 2013

Today I'll write a little bit about one of my favorite painters. It's a Belgian painter called René Magritte (1898–1967), one of the most important Surrealists of the last century. If you are in the US you'll get the chance to see his work. I highly recommend a visit. More after the jump.

La trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) / The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) (1929)


Surrealism is a literary and artistic movement that was founded in 1924. The term 'surrealism' was coined in 1917 by 'Guillaume Apollinaire' as a response to Picasso designing the sets for the ballet 'Parade'. Surrealism is one of the art movements I like because of the fantasy and mystery that lies within. I'm most intrigued by the paradoxes, and illusions which plays on our common sense and visual perception of reality.

It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world. Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery.

 — René Magritte on putting seemingly unrelated objects together in juxtaposition

Les amants (The Lovers) (1928)

Tentative de l'Impossible (Attempting the Impossible) (1928)

L’assassin menacé (The Menaced Assassin) (1927)

Le Model Rouge (The Red Model) (1935)

La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced) (1937)

La durée poignardée (Time Transfixed) (1938)

Reality and dream are blending together. This is why I'm such a big fan of René Magritte, and also because of his unspeakably clean and polished painting technique. Everything looks so real and precise. The details, and shadow & light are so perfect. It almost looks like a photograph.

Covered faces

René Magritte was born in 1898 at 'Lessines', Belgium. His mother committed suicide when Magritte was 13 years old. She jumped in the river 'Sambre' and was found naked with her face covered. This tragedy had a major impact in the life and work of Magritte . Covered faces is a returning element in some of the work that he painted on canvas.

Retrospective at MoMA

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938. It's the first time that René Magritte gets an exhibition that will solely focus on the breakthrough Surrealist years of his life. I feel that Magritte is the creator of some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary images. The exhibition starts in 1926, when Magritte first aimed to create paintings that would, in his words, “challenge the real world”. The retrospective will feature around 80 paintings, collages, and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and some early commercial work. The exhibition starts on September 28 and will run until January 12, 2014 at the sixth floor of the MoMa in New York.

After New York the exhibition will move to Houston.The dates there are February 14 – June 1, 2014. After that things move to the Art Institute of Chicago from June 29–October 12, 2014.

Paintings from:


  1. 1 Dillon McCallum 15 Jun 2013

    Splendid collection. I love it!