Le Trahison des Images

Le Trahison des Images
Le Trahison des Images Art Print
Magritte, Rene
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Le Trahison des Images, 1928–29 (translation: "The Treachery of Images") is probably the second most recognized painting by Magritte, the first being The Son of Man, 1964.

La Trahison des Images is actually a series of paintings by René Magritte, the most noted of which is famous for its inscription "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", French for "this is not a pipe". The painting shows a pipe. The painting is not a pipe, but rather an image of a pipe. As Magritte himself commented: "The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe,' I'd have been lying!"

At first glance this painting may simply seem to be an image of a pipe with the apparently contradictory statement that this is not a pipe. Yet through this surreal painting Magritte is pointing out the very important concept that all paintings are merely representative of the subject matter. It is not the subject matter itself. The image on the canvas is an interpretation of what the artist saw when creating the painting. When you look at any object around you, your mind is interpreting the information that is sensed by your eyes. In the metaphysical sense, what you are "seeing" is not the real object but an interpretation of the object as perceived by your mind through your eyes. Your senses present your mind with sensory information about an object (or situation) and it is your mind that interprets it. One's mind works via pictorial representations of objects; think of your home and an image of your home comes on the screen of your mind. But that image of your home is not your home. It is merely a representative interpretation of your home. That's the psychological concept that Magritte is conveying in his painting La Trahison des Images. For greater understanding of this concept, read the book "Psycho-Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz.

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