René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He was born in 1898 and died in 1967. His mother committed suicide by drowning herself, and is said to be found with her face covered by her dress. Some people suggest that this is the reason why many of Magritte’s images are of people with their faces blocked from view. In it uncertain, however, whether he actually saw his mother’s body as she was pulled from the river.
Magritte studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, but like many other modern artists, he did not like the strict rules of traditional art that was taught in art schools. His paintings began to be influenced by Futurism and Cubism. His first surrealist painting was “Le Jockey Perdu.” Soon after, he met André Breton, the creator of the surrealist movement, and joined the surrealist movement that Breton was leading.
Some of Magritte’s most famous creations were due to his work in the advertising business. One of these works was discussed during a media course that I took in France. Our assignments involved examining French advertisements and deciphering them. One of the images that we were given was Magritte’s painting called “La trahison des images.”
This image is of a pipe. The script underneath the pipe says, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” meaning “this is not a pipe.” Magritte is drawing to our attention that the images that we are looking at are not the object itself. The picture is not a pipe; it is a picture of a pipe. He uses his paintings to make the observer look closely at themselves and examine they was the mind works and how we interpret the things we see around us.