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message 1: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Aug 22, 2009 07:57AM) (new)

Heather | 8271 comments Sometimes I feel trapped in a smaller place looking out at where I could be, whether in my mind, or otherwise, but can't quite seem to get out there. It's almost mentally claustrophobic!
Magritte seems to demonstrate this principle in many of his works. The egg in the bird cage, the apple in the brick room, etc. (I don't know the names of the paintings) When I am in that state of mind, I could literally feel like I'm going crazy looking at that art. That said, I LOVE Rene Magritte's work.
P.S. I would post the picture of the apple, but I don't know how to post pictures to the group

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey Heather!

I think you meant this one! ( The Listening Room)

I find Magritte as an artist and person to be very interesting. His thoughts on illusion and the way we choose to see daily life are ideas worth exploring.

Here is one of my fav paintings:

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"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."
Rene Magritte

"We must not fear daylight just because it almost always illuminates a miserable world."
Rene Magritte

message 3: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8271 comments Thank you, Mary. That IS the painting I was talking about. I have a couple of Magritte's books, but as I am recently divorced and in between houses, all my books are in storage. I should know the names by heart, but alas, I don't know them all. :( I wonder sometimes what Magritte was really thinking when he does some of his work? Do you know if he had depression or any sort of disorder since he sees this world so dismal?

message 4: by Garrett Cook (new)

Garrett Cook | 1 comments A truly amazing painter. His images have influenced some of my writing.

message 5: by M (last edited Aug 22, 2009 03:17PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Nice post Mary, thank you. "Aristotle" would have surely appreciated these amazing paintings of René Magritte.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
( Aristotle )

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

[image error]

There are too many works by Magritte that I enjoy. I think this photo portrait is a summary of his body of work and of his desire to challenge the preconditioned perceptions of the viewer.

Mary, DO YOU REMEMBER REDON? I think that there are some similarities between Magritte and Redon because their interpretations seem to challenge perception.

message 7: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 1 comments Magritte may have claimed that his work meant nothing, but it has certainly been fruitful for others. I especially enjoyed the comments on Magritte in Godel Escher Bach; without that book, Magritte would have been the name of another dead artist and no more.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Alex: Why yes, I do remember Redon! I first "met him" while at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam 2 weeks ago. I couldn't believe that I hadn't known of his work earlier. I was delighted and surprised to have met this new artist. I immediately fell in love with his story and his paintings. There is one in particular that I found myself staring at for quite a while:

His use of color is amazing. I am currently reading a book about him. I find his work fascinating. It's amazing when you find a new piece of art and an artist who moves you such as Redon has moved me.

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Michelle wrote: "Nice post Mary, thank you. "Aristotle" would have surely appreciated these amazing paintings of René Magritte.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inwar..."

Thanks MIchelle! I love that quote by Aristotle by the way!

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Heather wrote: "I wonder sometimes what Magritte was really thinking when he does some of his work? Do you know if he had depression or any sort of disorder since he sees this world so dismal? "

Hi Heather,

Magritte's mother did commit suicide when he was 14. There are many essays and theories as to how this changed him as an artist and how this influenced his work. There is a painting that some theorize was a reference to his mother's body having been found in the Sambre river. She was found with her nightgown wrapped around her face, which is why some think this painting is eludes that memory:

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However...Magritte abhorred interpretation of his work. He said of someone who claimed to understand what Magritte had communicated, "You are more fortunate than I." Moreover, Magritte was explicit about not equating his paintings with symbolism. So who knows! But I would expect that any artist would draw from both their emotions and life experiences as concepts for their work.

message 11: by M (last edited Aug 23, 2009 03:20PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Mary wrote: "Alex: Why yes, I do remember Redon! I first "met him" while at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam 2 weeks ago. I couldn't believe that I hadn't known of his work earlier. I was delighted and surpris..."

Thank you, Mary. I love Aristotle's quote, too !

The painting of Odilon Redon is impressive. I have seen some of his works at " The Musee d'Orsay " in Paris, but It's the first time that I see this one. What's the title of this painting ? Odilon Redon was one of the major painter and artist of the Symbolism's Art Movement. Could you recommend some books of his work ?

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

HI Michelle,

I would love to see more work by Redon. The title of that painting is "Virgin with Corona." It has become known as "the Boat." The blues were so vivid. I'd love to know more about him. I am actually reading a wonderful book right now about him! My boyfriend picked it up while we were in Amsterdam at the Van Gogh museum. I wish they had sold more things Redon. The title of the book is "Odilon Redon and Emile Bernard, Masterpieces from the Andries Bonger Collection." I hope you enjoy!


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim | 147 comments love MAGRITTE but always wondered what was he doing living in the suburbs - I guess it would have been fun to have a cookout with him

message 14: by M (last edited Aug 24, 2009 04:13PM) (new)

M (wwwgoodreadscomprofilem) Mary wrote: "HI Michelle,

I would love to see more work by Redon. The title of that painting is "Virgin with Corona." It has become known as "the Boat." The blues were so vivid. I'd love to know more about him..."

Thanks Mary for the book's recommendation. Here's a link with Odilon Redon's complete works. I hope you'll enjoy !

"Virgin with Corona" is a superb watercolor, the symbolism of the blue color, color of immaterial, is powerful here.

The color blue is a possible way to discover The History of Art. It's the dominant color of the palett of many painters and artists such as Braque, Chagall, Picasso, Vermeer, Cezanne, Matisse, Miro, Kandinsky, Yves Klein, Vasarely .....


message 15: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Jun 20, 2011 07:13PM) (new)

Heather | 8271 comments René Magritte: enigmatic master of the impossible dream

On the eve of a major Magritte exhibition, artists with an eye for the peculiar reveal why they love the witty Belgian surrealist

Magritte, Rene' (1898-1967): The Lovers, 1928. New York, Museum of Modern Art

Imogen Carter
The Observer

Terry Gilliam Film director and former member of Monty Python
It wasn't until I'd seen Magritte's work collected together in an exhibition at the Tate, at the end of the 1960s I think, that I realised just how incredibly funny his stuff was. People walk around these exhibitions in a religious state of awe and I just walked round this one laughing uncontrollably. Until then, I'd always thought of Magritte as having an interesting and intriguing mind – the way he would turn things inside out or make that which was solid suddenly not solid. But suddenly here he was, this wonderfully dry joke teller. The work that really struck me that day was The Man in the Bowler Hat [1964]. He'd spent months painting a guy in a bowler hat and then, for his last brush strokes, paints a dove flying in front of the man's face. What's happened there could happen only in a photograph and he's done a painting of it. What a comedian! I thought he was so clever. If it wasn't for the ideas I wouldn't say he was a great painter because others have a better technique. But he does what he needs to do and does it so well.

Whenever I drive in any mountainous region and look at the line against the sky, I think of Magritte. And whenever I see beautiful, perfect clouds in the sky, he's the first thing that comes to mind. I think there is a humanity, a generosity and a kindness to others in Magritte's work. He takes the viewer into account. And I have always found the economy of his images very moving. They communicate very purely and directly. One of the most profound pieces of Magritte's is Discovery [1928]. It is an image of a woman whose flesh resembles the grain in wood. There is this aspect of Magritte which is about dealing with the world around us, and there is a certain materiality, a reality about that world that he creates, even though he makes these strange juxtapositions.

NOEL FIELDING Artist and co-creator of The Mighty Boosh
The first painting that made me think, "Oh my god, that's something amazing" was Young Girl Eating a Bird [1927]. I liked how enigmatic Magritte's work was, how you didn't quite know what was going on. Surrealism and absurdity, Monty Python and Vic Reeves, they were the first things that I really buzzed off and thought, "wow, that's what I want to do". The fact that there was a surrealist movement really appealed to me too, that they met up and drank crème de menthe in weird Parisian cafes. I loved that these grown men like Breton and Magritte would really seriously discuss poems, automatic writing and painting and then put things in their magazines like a man throwing a rock at a priest. I guess it was quite punk at the time.

Young Girl Eating a Bird Magritte

When Magritte was 13, his mother committed suicide and, apparently, when the police retrieved her body from the river Sambre, Magritte was there and he saw how her face was covered by her dress. My own art and the research I do around it is all about neuroscience, how brains function, how memory functions, so this episode in Magritte's life and the way it subsequently influenced his art really intrigues me. If you look at The Lovers [1928], where two people have clothes over their face, I think that work specifically draws on that episode with his mother. But more generally, his work explores memory, his funny perception of reality and for me that all comes from his memory of that event. In Le Blanc-Seing [1965], for example, which features a woman on a horse in a wood, there are almost two paintings. The way his paintings constantly shift between what is real, something he can see or saw, and something he really wants to see is what draws me into his work.

One of the great things about Magritte's work, especially The Treachery of Images (This Is Not a Pipe) [1921] is it dismantles the idea of pictures themselves. It makes the audience consider what they're looking at and take a step back. You can see that Magritte painted to experiment with his own thinking. His work is a thinking through pictures. I probably first came across the work when I was on my art foundation course and I remember my sense of relief to find that his work was immediately gettable. Some people today don't identify with the themes he's exploring or perhaps can't see past the cliché. But the way he suggestively starts to make the audience question how they see things is something that I try to include in my own art.

The Treachery of Images Magritte

The images aren't misshapen or distorted – he just puts them together in combinations that we don't usually think about. And in terms of advertising, Magritte and Dalí probably have been the most influential artists, so much that we don't even see it anymore. Take, for example, CBS TV's logo, the eye. I believe that comes directly from him [from the work The False Mirror, 1928]. He's everywhere

The False Mirror Magritte

EDWARD HALL Theatre director
I had a picture of The Human Condition [1933] on my wall when I was a teenager which I'd cut out of a magazine because it looked interesting. My favourite now is The Treachery of Images. That's about not boiling things down to their lowest common denominator or about looking beyond what you think something is. The pipe expresses that idea in its simplest form. Of course it's not a pipe! Try and smoke it!

The Human Condition

When I first became interested in art, at the age of 13 or 14, I was drawn to the otherness of art, the peculiarity and anarchy of it. For me, Magritte really represented that. Then, when I went to art school in the late 80s, I realised that his paintings were not very good, technically speaking. His work seemed a bit kitsch. But later I became interested in them again, as a vehicle for ideas. I've always loved the simplicity of his work and I think it becomes more profound the more you consider it.


message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I find the above painting interesting. Things are not as they seem. It is almost like Alice looking through the looking glass.

message 17: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 162 comments I need to revisit Magritte and the Surrealists. I love their work, more so now than ever before. Maybe it has to do with my expanded reading choices. Or maybe life is more surrealistic than I thought. Lately, anyway.

message 18: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I hear you, Aloha.

message 19: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8271 comments Life is definitely surreal!

message 20: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) It sure is.

message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim | 147 comments How Magritte was able to see so many things in such a different way is what amazes me. He also presented his subjects in a unique way that everyone could appreciate almost immediately upon seeing the work.

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