Le Tombeau des Luteurs, 1960

Le Tombeau des Luteurs
Le Tombeau des Luteurs Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952
Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952 Limited Edition
Magritte, Rene
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Reminiscent of Magritte's painting Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952, the painting Le Tombeau des Luteurs depicts an oversized red rose inside a room. The rose completely fills the room and there is no space left for any other object. A window on the left wall lets light into the room and lights the rose casting a large shadow behind it.

Is the rose oversize or is it the room that is in miniature? Magritte uses size to make the familiar surreal.

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Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952

Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952
Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952 Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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Le Tombeau des Luteurs
Le Tombeau des Luteurs Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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Les Valeurs Personnelles, 1952 (translation: "Personal Values") depicts a room full of oversized everyday object: a comb, a matchstick, a wineglass, a shaving brush, and a bar of soap. These familiar household objects crowd the room. Are these object in fact oversized or is it perhaps that the room is in miniature?

And the walls depict clouds, trying to open up the room but they are not real clouds, they are painted clouds. Yet visible in the wardrobe mirror is the reflection of an open window that does open the room to the outside.

Magritte uses the theme of an oversized object inside a room in several of his paintings including Le Tombeau des Luteurs.

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Le Seize Septembre, 1957

Le Seize Septembre
Le Seize Septembre Art Print
Rene Magritte
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La Voix Du Sang
La Voix Du Sang Limited Edition
Magritte, Rene
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Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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Le Seize Septembre (translation: "September Sixteen") depicts a lone tree at dusk. It looks like an ordinary scene.

Yet if you look close you will notice a crescent moon superimposed on the tree. Perhaps Magritte is reminding us to keep in mind that a painting is not reality but rather an image that the artist sees in his mind's eye. If you know the moon is behind the tree, with your mind's eye you can see the moon.

This painting is similar in theme to the artwork La Voix Du Sang that also depicts a lone tree at dusk. The image of the moon also appears in Magritte's painting Le Chef d'Oeuvre.

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La Voix Du Sang

La Voix Du Sang
La Voix Du Sang Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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Le Seize Septembre
Le Seize Septembre Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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La Voix Du Sang, 1948 (translation: ("Blood Will Tell" or "The Voice of Blood") is a painting of a tree at dusk or at twlight. It looks like a scene of an ordinary tree. But upon closer inspection of the tree, you notice that it has two doors cut into the trunk of the tree revealing two compartments. In the top compartment is an egg, and in the bottom compartment is a miniature house with light shining out through its windows.

This painting is similar in theme to the artwork Le Seize Septembre that also depicts a lone tree at dusk.

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Empire of Light, 1954

Empire of Light, 1954
Empire of Light, 1954 Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Empire of Light, 1954 depicts a scene of a house at night with a lamppost lighting a front portion of the house. This painting is one of my favorite artworks by Magritte. If you look at the painting, you will notice that the sky is a daylight sky (not a night sky) while the house is shown at night. Most viewers do not notice this discrepancy at first, thinking that it is perhaps a scene "shot" at dusk. The scene is subtlety surreal -- it looks like a photograph, yet it is surreal because of the sky.

Size: 146 x 113.7 cm.
Location: Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium.

Magritte painted other paintings with the same theme:

The Empire of Light II
The Empire of Light II Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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L'Empire des Lumieres (Empire of the Lights)
L'Empire des Lumieres (Empire of the Lights) Limited Edition
Magritte, Rene
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La Clairvoyance, 1936

La Clairvoyance
La Clairvoyance Art Print
Rene Magritte
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La Clairvoyance depicts the artist Magritte sitting at an easel, looking at an egg while painting a picture of a bird with its wings extended.
The title of the painting La Clairvoyance translates to "Perspicacity" which means: Acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding or keen vision.
The meaning of the painting is indicated by the title La Clairvoyance. The egg will become a bird. The artists see what it will become. In the eye of the artist, he already sees the bird. Through understanding of the laws of the Universe, the artist knows that the egg will become a bird -- that it is already a bird.
Size: 54.5 x 65.5 cm.
Location: Private collection.
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Le Modele Rouge, 1935

Le Modele Rouge
Le Modele Rouge Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Le Modele Rouge (translation: "The Red Model") depicts feet that morph into lace-up shoes.

Magritte explained painting's imagery in a 1938 lecture: "The problem of the shoes demonstrates how far the most barbaric things can, through force of habit, come to be considered quite respectable," adding that thanks to the picture, "people can feel that the union of a human foot with a leather shoe is, in fact, a monstrous custom."

Size: 56 x 46 cm. Gallery: Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.

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Les Amants, 1928

Les Amants
Les Amants Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Les Amants (translation: "The Lovers") depicts a man and woman with their heads covered in shrouds. With green hills in the background and their heads pressed together, the image looks almost as if they are posing for a photography. This image could be a photograph of a warm moment between a couple. But the shrouds hide their faces from us and from each other. The shrouds turn an intimate moment into isolation. The shrouds might also be interpretted as "love is blind", or perhaps that one's lover is shrouded in mystery and is never completely known.

It has been suggested that one possible source for the shrouded heads is the memory of his mother's apparent suicide. In 1912, when Magritte was only thirteen years old, his mother was found drowned in the river Sambre. When her body was recovered from the river, her nightdress was supposedly wrapped around her head.

Size: 54.2 x 73 cm. Location: Private collection.

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L'Evidence Eternelle, 1930


L'Evidence Eternelle, 1930
L'Evidence Eternelle, 1930 Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949
La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949 Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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L'Evidence Eternelle, 1930 depicts a woman's nude body painted in parts on five separate, superimposed canvases. Yet are we looking at five canvases on a wall of a woman, or are we looking through five windows in a wall at a woman standing on the other side of the wall?

This artwork is reminiscent of the later painting La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949 that depicts the fragmented body of a woman in a different style.

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La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949

La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949
La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949 Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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La Magie Noire
La Magie Noire Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949 (translation: "Delusions of Grandeur") depicts the fragmented body of a nude woman posing by a seawall. Notice that the woman's body is fragmented and so is the sky. The sky appears to be made out of blocks. Some of the clouds are in front of and behind the "sky blocks" and some of the clouds appear to be painted onto the "sky blocks". There is a question of what is reality. This painting is similar to another painting by Magritte named La Magie Noire

Comparing this painting to the other painting, the horizon line dividing the sky from the sea is clear compared to a fuzzy horizon line. This painting has an object (a candle) sitting on the seawall compared to nothing on the seawall in the other painting.

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La Magie Noire, 1945

La Magie Noire
La Magie Noire Art Print
Rene Magritte
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La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949
La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949 Limited Edition
Magritte, Rene
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La Magie Noire (translation: "Black Magic") depicts a nude woman posing by a seawall. Her body is shaded from natural skin tone to the blue of the sky.

This painting is similar to Magritte's other painting La Folie des Grandeurs, 1948-1949 that also depicts a "woman" at a seawall.

Size: 73 x 54.4 cm. Location: Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium.

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La Grande Guerre, 1964

La Grande Guerre, 1964
La Grande Guerre, 1964 Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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The Son of Man, 1964
The Son of Man, 1964 Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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La Grande Guerre, 1964 (translation: "The Big War") depicts a woman carrying a parasol (a lightweight umbrella used, esp. by women, as a sunshade) standing by a stone seawall that overlooks a body of water. This painting is reminiscent of Magritte's well-known painting The Son of Man, 1964.

Although the two artworks are very similar, the scene in La Grande Guerre, 1964 is brighter than in The Son of Man, 1964. The sea is a calm blue and the sky is a light blue with white clouds compared to a darker sea with threatening clouds. The woman has her arms up (holding her parasol and purse) compared to the man who has his arms down by his side and is more staid. The woman has her body turned slightly to her right compared to the man who has his body directly facing the viewer. The brickwork of the seawall is also different; smooth compared to rough, a cap/coping compared to no cap/coping. And while both are wearing hats, her hat is flamboyant while his hat is staid. The woman's face is covered by a bouquet of flowers compared to the man's face that is covered by a green apple.

Size: 81 x 60 cm.
Location: Private collection.

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Homesickness, 1940

Homesickness, 1940
Homesickness, 1940 Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Homesickness, 1940 depicts an interesting scene -- a man looking out over what appears to be a bridge railing while a lion sits behind him. Notice that the man is looking out over the railing while the lion is intently looking in the opposite direction. Unlike the bowler-hat wearing men in Magritte's other paintings, such as The Son of Man, 1964, this man has no hat but he does have what appear to be wings. Perhaps the man is an angel.

It is also interesting that the sky depicted in Homesickness, 1940 is a golden brown. The brown color palette used in this artwork and the position of the man/angel gives the painting a feeling of melancholy. Who is the title Homesickness applying to? The lion or the man or both? Afterall, the natural place for a lion is in the wild, not a city, and he is the "King of the Beasts". The man/angel and the lion are both homesick for where they came from.

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La Golconde, 1953

La Golconde
La Golconde Art Print
Rene Magritte
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La Golconde, 1953 is another of Magritte's painting depicting a bowler-had clad gentleman. But unlike in his other paintings such as The Son of Man, 1964 and Le Chef d'Oeuvre, this painting depicts dozens and dozens of men. One can imagine that the men are falling downward like raindrops -- a down pour of men -- or that the men are like balloons floating upward. Or perhaps they are not in motion and are stationary. The men are identical in appearance except for the direction they are facing; some are facing towards us, some are facing 45 degrees to the left, while others are facing 45 degrees to the right. And the men are all in a perfect grid, in a crystal lattice such as carbon atoms in a diamond; these men are not randomly placed -- there is perfect order. How far do the men extend up/down, left/right, forward/back? Do they represent society, rigid structure and conformity? Yet notice the roof line of the buildings; they are not in a straight ridig line; they go up and down. Yet at the same time, all the windows are the same, all the buildings have the same color roof and same color exterior. The shadows on the roof indicate that the light source, the sun, is above the viewer's left shoulder.

Size: 81 x 100 cm. Location: The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, USA.

Magritte's image of a man in a bowler hat is a recurring theme that reappears in several of his pictures:

The Son of Man, 1964
The Son of Man, 1964 Art Print
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 Golconde, 1953
Golconde, 1953 Art Print
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Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre Art Print
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Le Bouquet tout fait, 1957

Le Bouquet tout fait, 1957
Le Bouquet tout fait, 1957 Limited Edition
Rene Magritte
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La Primavera
La Primavera Giclee Print

Primavera: Detail of Flora
Primavera: Detail of Flora, Giclee Print

Le Blanc-Seing
Le Blanc-Seing, Art Print

Le Bouquet tout fait, 1957 is another of Magritte's paintings depicting a man wearing a bowler-hat. Unlike The Son of Man, 1964 and L'Homme au Chapeau Melon, the man is this painting is facing away from us.

Of course the most striking thing about this artwork is the woman that appears superimposed on the center of the image. The woman is a near identical reproduction of Flora (the goddess of spring, who is scattering roses) from the masterpiece La Primavera by Sandro Botticelli. Look at what the man is looking at, a lush green forest in spring bloom.

Seperating the man from the forest is a balncy stone railing; it is a barrier.

This forest is similar to the forest that appears in Magritte's painting Le Blanc-Seing

Magritte's image of a man in a bowler hat is a recurring theme that reappears in several of his pictures:

The Son of Man, 1964
The Son of Man, 1964;
Art Print

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L'Homme au Chapeau Melon
L'Homme au Chapeau Melon;
Art Print

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Golconde, 1953
Golconde, 1953;
Art Print

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Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre;
Art Print

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Le Chef d'Oeuvre


Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Le Chef d'Oeuvre is another of the paintings by Magritte that have a bowler-hat man; in this case, three bowler-hat men. Unlike Magritte's other "bowler-hat" paintings such as The Son of Man, 1964, this painting is set at dusk or twilight and the moon is visible. Also, we can see at least half of the man's fact while in other paintings the man's face is covered. It's interesting that there are three men and three moons. One would expect to see the moon in its various phases, yet here each moon is the same (Waxing Crescent Moon as viewed in the Northern Hemisphere) and the man is going through phases. Yet if you look closely, the height of the man changes so is this an image of three different men or the same man viewed from three different angles? 0 degrees (his back), 45 degrees (his left side), and 270 degrees (his right side).
The three men are looking in different directions, what do they see? The man on the left looks along our own line of sight (does he represent us?), the man in the middle looks to our left at a 45 degree angle (1/8 of a circle), and the man on the right looks off to our right (at a 90 degree angle to our own line of sight). And why are the two men on the right (and the moons above them) closer together? Why aren't three men/moons evenly separated? Is it to create the gap between the first and second man and to create no gap between the second and third man? Look in the gap -- the ground there is barren; now look at the ground to the right of the third man -- the ground has rocks. When looking at a painting, it's important to ask yourself, "What's going on here? Why did the artist do that?"

Some other Rene Magritte paintings that have a bowler-hat man are:

The Son of Man, 1964
The Son of Man, 1964 Art Print
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  Golconde, 1953
Golconde, 1953 Art Print
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L'Homme au Chapeau Melon
L'Homme au Chapeau Melon Art Print
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Buy Art Print: Le Chef d'Oeuvre

L'Homme au Chapeau Melon, 1964

L'Homme au Chapeau Melon
L'Homme au Chapeau Melon Art Print
Rene Magritte
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Magritte used the image of a man wearing a bowler hat (a.k.a. "Derby") in serveral of his paintings. This painting is perhaps not as well known as other paintings by Magritte, nevertheless, it is easily identified as a painting by Magritte and recalls the well known painting The Son of Man, 1964.

Observe the painting and its details. The man' face is covered, just as if the dove flew into the frame just as Magritte "snapped" the picture. The bird is flying from the man's left to his right, towards the light. We do not see the man's eyes yet we see the bird's left eye; in the painting The Son of Man, 1964 we can see the man's left eye. And the man's tie is a pale pink compared to the bright red tie that appears in The Son of Man, 1964. And unlike that painting, this painting is a closeup "shoulder" shot of the man. Look at the blue background behind him; is that the sky or is he sitting in front of a backdrop for a portrait?

With any artwork, it's important to try and understand the meaning that the artist is conveying to you. There is meaning there in the image. Ponder the image and ask yourself what is in the meaning of each artistic element. What do you see in the painting? What does it remind you of? How is it similar to other paintings by this artist and by other artists? Look at the juxtaposition of objects within the frame and how the image is composed.

Some other Rene Magritte paintings that have the theme of the bowler-hat man are:

The Son of Man, 1964
The Son of Man, 1964 Art Print
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  Golconde, 1953
Golconde, 1953 Art Print
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Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre Art Print
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Buy Art Print: L'Homme au Chapeau Melon

The Son of Man, 1964


The Son of Man, 1964
The Son of Man, 1964 Art Print Rene Magritte
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L'Homme au Chapeau Melon
L'Homme au Chapeau Melon Art Print
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Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre Art Print
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The Son of Man, 1964 is synonymous with Rene Magritte. That image of a man with a bowler-hat has become part of society's psyche. It has been used in commercial advertisement in various forms. And it also played a part in the motion picture The Thomas Crown AffairThe Thomas Crown Affair (1999) starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.

When you look at any painting, it's important to keep in mind that everything is positioned where it is for a reason. The artist had a reason for it all. Ask yourself what is the meaning of each artistic element in the artwork. The man in the painting is very staid, very "stiff-upper-lip". His arms are straight down by his sides. Why is his bottom button unbuttoned yet the top two are buttoned? He's looking straight forward with a blank stare; at least it appears that way from his left eye that you can see peaking around behind the apple. Notice that it is a green apple, not a red apple. How is the apple staying were it is? Is the man biting the apple? Is it merely floating? He's standing beside a wall that overlooks a body of water (blue water typically symbolizes the subconscious); what body of water is that, is it an ocean, a lake, a pond? Notice the gray clouds; is a storm forming? And look at the wall again; notice the lines on the top of the bricks that project away from you; continue
both those lines and you will see that they intersect just above the top button, just at the level of the man's heart. Do you think that is an accident? Magritte planned it that way. Look at his right hand and at his left hand; the right hand is in front while the left hand is slightly behind. But look closer at the left arm at the elbow; that's a bulge; his left arm is on backwards, we are looking at the backside of a right arm! Take your hand and cover everthing except what appears to be the man's left arm; look at it and you'll see that it appears that you are now looking at the man from behind and what you see is his right arm from behind. That's surreal. That's Magritte.

About the painting The Son of Man, 1964 Magritte said, Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible. Humans hide their secrets too well ...

Magritte was quoted as saying:

"My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question 'What does that mean?' It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."

The face of the man is hidden under an apple. This refers to Magritte's painting "This is not an Apple" (Ceci n'est pas une pomme), also created in 1964. In "The Son of Man", the apple is also not an apple. The phrase "The Son of Man" usually refers to the figure of Christ, to the transfiguration of Jesus (see the Gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew). Transfiguration discloses that the material body and face of Jesus is not the truthful one, for it reveals the material substance to be the figure only, the veil covering another true substance -- the Holy Light. The figure here functions as a reference
to something else beyond its borders. (source: Irina Mel'nikova)

Magritte's signture theme of a man in a bowler hat reappears in several of his paintings:

L'Homme au Chapeau Melon
L'Homme au Chapeau Melon Art Print
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Golconde, 1953
Golconde, 1953 Art Print
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Le Chef d'Oeuvre
Le Chef d'Oeuvre Art Print
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