Rene' Magritte, Surrealist Painter.

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René François-Ghislain Magritte


On November 21, 1898 René François-Ghislain Magritte was born in Lessines, Hainaut (Belgium) to Adeline Magritte. On March 12, 1912, a mere fourteen years later, Adeline's body was fished out of the Sambre River where she

committed suicide. Little did she know that her son would

become one of the most celebrated surrealists of his time.

This unexpected tragedy set the stage for the Magritte

family's move to Charleroi. At age 16, René enrolled at the

Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. At that time Magritte had

already begun to paint in the style, closely related to

surrealism, that was predominant throughout his extensive

career. Noted as a meticulous, skillful technician, he created works that contain an extraordinary juxtaposition of ordinary objects or an unusual context that gives new meaning to familiar things. This juxtaposition is frequently called "magic realism", of which Magritte was the prime advocate.

In addition to fantastic elements, he displayed a trenchant wit, creating surrealist versions of famous paintings, such as Madame Récamier de David in 1949. In this piece, an elaborate coffin is substituted for the reclining woman in the famous portrait by Jacques Louis David. Magritte's work was world reknowned. In 1936, he came to New York City where his work was first exhibited in the United States. Magritte's paintings were all of such marvelous stature that my research has not named just one to be his magnum opus. Unfortunately, in 1965 his health began to decline and from there on he stayed in Italy where he and his wife had resided for many years. Sadly, on August 15, 1967 René Magritte took his last breaths and passed away.

I chose René Magritte because his paintings on the following pages captivate me. The visual appeal is not the

only thing that draws me to them, but also the creativity that encompasses each and every painting. Many questions arose in my mind while researching his style, and to me, in the end if all of the answers are not found that makes it all the more interesting because it leaves you with something to ponder and draw your own conclusions about.


Nicola Randone. Grandi Artisti. 23 Oct. 2001

The Magritte Site. 23 Oct. 2001

Paintings by René Magritte. 23 Oct. 2001