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Creator: René Magritte
It's raining men, hallelujah!

René Magritte (1898-1967) was Belgium's most famous 20th century painter. One of the icons of the surrealistic movement, he painted countless paintings with absurd images, many which have become famous, such as "The Treachery of Images" ("This is not a pipe") and the man in a bowler hat who has a floating apple in front of his face.


This painter provides examples of:

  • Alien Sky: ''The Empire Of Light'' depicts a daytime sky over a nighttime street scene.
  • Author Avatar: The men in bowler hats seen in many of his paintings are self-portraits.
  • The Blank: The men in bowler hats were frequently painted without faces.
  • Body Horror: Two paintings come into mind: a female face shaped like a female body and a pipe smoking man whose nose is stuck inside his pipe.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: His paintings often looked like a madman made them.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Magritte once woke up from a dream and saw a bird in cage in his room. Half awake he thought he saw an egg inside the cage. This inspired him to paint "Elective Affinities", in which an egg is seen inside a cage.
    • Another painting depicts a painter (probably a self-portrait) looking at an egg and painting a bird.
  • The Every Man: Ordinary men in bowler hats and black costumes are often depicted in his work, usually unfazed by all the surrounding madness around them. Magritte himself often dressed the same way, claiming that he had no desire to stand out from the crowd.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The painting The Treachery of Images depicts a pipe with the caption "Ceci n' est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"). For those of you who find this strange: indeed it is not a pipe, but a PAINTING of a pipe.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Many objects, people or animals in Magritte's paintings are hidden. Sometimes by a cloak over their heads, sometimes because an object is floating in front of their face or sometimes because it is covered by a painting that supposedly shows what's behind itself. This was a part of his gimmick, attempting to make viewers more aware of the environment around them. He also made a few paintings where things that normally hidden are part of the object, like shoes with feet on them or a dress where the breasts and vagina are visible.
  • It's Raining Men: Taken quite literally with Golconda and the picture above. Although, Magritte being Magritte, they might just as easily be raining up.
  • Magic Mirror: A 1937 painting shows a mirror with an illogical reflection. It simply shows a man's back again instead of showing his face. [1]
  • Mermaid Problem: Magritte once painted a reverse mermaid, having the legs of a human and the torso of a fish.
  • Mind Screw: By combining ordinary every day life images and putting them in absurd situations, or making images dissolve into their environment, or images that simply don't make sense.
  • Nonindicative Name: The titles of his paintings usually have nothing to do with the actual content. Subverted with the pipe painting, which is called "The Treachery of Images".
  • Selective Gravity: Certain things float on air in his paintings, like apples, trains, pipes,... but without any general consistency.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The meaning of his art is open for all sorts of interpretations...


LoriotArtistsDave McKean

alternative title(s): Rene Magritte
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