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Inspired by Magritte

Half a century after his death, the images painted by Magritte remain in our imaginary as unmissable and iconic traces of surrealism. His humorous and mysterious oeuvre hid a discreet man who preferred hiding behind his suit, pipe, hat and mirror.

Born in 1898, Magritte is one of the pioneers of the surrealist movement. Dive into the life and work of this artist recognised as the most influential Belgian painter of the 20th century. Magritte became interested in conceiving art in its broadest sense, away from realism, when he met the Italian painter De Chirico. As a self-taught artist, he forged his understanding of art and painting through literature and poetry with writers and philosophers of his milieu.

His painting sought to reflect his ideas and thoughts. Magritte was interested in the impact the painter had on an object. For him, painting wasn't supposed to be a mere representation of the real, but rather an image of the artist’s thought projected on the object. “The art of painting can’t only stick to the idea of displaying a resemblance with the surrounding world.” Magritte excelled in representing mental images and creating artworks that would deconstruct the real and disturb the viewer. His painting was never a mirror of reality: it was the mirror of his own imagined reality. From this idea, Magritte created the concept of word-images paintings in 1928: he called the idea The Treachery of images, where words would replace images (the famous "this is not a pipe").

Did you know that Magritte used to paint in his dining room? Partly because he lacked a separate studio, but also because he enjoyed painting in places of life, to not disconnect from reality, from which his productions yet tried to escape from. He enjoyed strolling in museums where his own artworks were exhibited, talking with the watchmen, and, for a long time, many ignored that this calm and easy-going neighbour was indeed the famous painter.

Matisse’s oeuvre embraced a broad aesthetic spectrum, from cubist and futurist influences, flirting with abstraction. He was also an advertising illustrator, which explained his disillusioned conception of images. Finally, his “Vache period” which preceded his exhibition in Paris in 1948 provoked quite of a scandal. Always seeking to be there when one would not expect him, he decided to produce all his paintings in a very provocative and crude style. The public did not find Magritte's little prank to his taste; the painter did not sell a single painting and barely had the means to bring his canvases back to Belgium.

Magritte was a flaky painter, but also a poet of the disenchanted reality, and his patterns are still taken up and played with, even tattooed, and known by many generations.

He died on the 15th of August 1967 in Schaerbeek in Belgium.  

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