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Inspired by Magritte

Half a century after his death, the Magritte's surrealist paintings remain unmissable and iconic traces of the art movement they belonged to. His humorous and mysterious œuvre 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, widely recognized as the most influential Belgian painter of the 20th century. Magritte grew interested in the conception of art in the broader sense, moving away from realism. His encounter with the Italian painter De Chirico was extremely influential. As a self-taught artist, he forged his understanding of art and painting through literature and poetry, learning from the writers and philosophers of his milieu.

His surrealist paintings sought to reflect his ideas and thoughts. Magritte was interested in the impact a painter could have 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 thoughts projected onto the object. 

“The art of painting must exceed the idea of simply displaying a resemblance with the surrounding world." Magritte favored representing mental images and creating artworks that would deconstruct the real and disturb the viewer. His surrealist paintings are never a mirror of reality: they're the mirror of his own imagined reality. From this idea, Magritte created the concept of word-image paintings in 1928. The idea was named The Treachery of images, where words would replace images (such as 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 pertaining to life, that weren't disconnected from reality. The same reality from which his surrealistic artworks tried to escape. Magritte enjoyed strolling in museums where his own artworks were exhibited, and talking to museum guards. For a long time, many ignored that this calm and easy-going stranger beside them was indeed the famous painter.

The surrealist artist embraced a broad aesthetic spectrum, from cubist and futurist influences, flirting with abstraction. He was also an advertisement illustrator, which can explain his disillusionment with images and how they're conceived. Finally, his “Vache period" which preceded his exhibition in Paris in 1948 provoked quite a scandal. Always after the unexpected, he decided to produce all of his paintings in a very provocative and crude style. The public was not very fond of Magritte's prank. The painter didn't sell a single painting and barely had the means to bring his canvases back to Belgium.

Magritte made surrealism what it is today, still influencing the works of surrealist painters and photographers alike. His patterns continue to resurface today, and are known across many generations. He died on the 15th of August 1967 in Schaerbeek in Belgium.  

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