René Magritte in a Miniature Art Gallery

This past week, we saw a bicyclist come to a sudden stop when he noticed our miniature art gallery. He spent time looking at the art, the miniature people visiting the art gallery, and reading the description. A Fed Ex deliveryman did the same. A woman walking home with a bag of groceries stopped to look. It gives us immense joy to see that our art appreciation project is giving others joy.

Here is this month’s gallery showing featuring the art of René Magritte, who was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images.

On the left wall of gallery: “The Son of Man” is a 1964 painting by Magritte. It is perhaps his most well-known artwork. Magritte painted it as a self-portrait. The painting consists of a man in an overcoat and a bowler hat standing in front of a low wall, beyond which are the sea and a cloudy sky.

On right wall of gallery: “The Treachery of Images” (1929) is part of a series of paintings featuring images paired with words. This particular piece shows a pipe with the French phrase, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”). Magritte wanted to highlight that the painting is not a pipe, but rather a picture of one. 

On far wall of gallery: “Golconda” is a 1953 painting by Magritte. It depicts a scene of “raining men,” nearly identical to each other dressed in dark overcoats and bowler hats. They seem to be either falling down like rain drops, floating up like helium balloons, or just stationed in mid-air. But does the sky look like it is a rainy day? Magritte wore a bowler hat. All of these men are dressed the same, have the same bodily features and are all floating/falling. But if we look at each person, we can see that each is completely different. The title Golconda was suggested by Magritte’s poet friend Louis Scutenaire. Magritte included a likeness of Scutenaire in the painting – his face is used for the large man by the chimney of the house on the right of the picture.

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