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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Buy Art Print: The Son of Man

See posting: Magritte on The Son of Man