26 de junho de 2011

René Magritte - The Human Condition

                                                         The Human Condition - 1933
                                                  National Gallery of Art - Washington

"In front of a window seen from inside a room, I placed a painting representing exactly that portion of the landscape covered by the painting. Thus, the tree in the picture hid the tree behind it, outside the room. For the spectator, it was both inside the room within the painting and outside in the real landscape."
René Magritte in 1933

René Magritte (1898-1967) was born in Lessines, Belgium. After studying at the Acabemy of Fine Arts in Brussels, he worked in a wallpaper factory and was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926. Magritte settled in Paris, at the end of of 1920's, where he met members of the Surrealist Movement and soon became envolved with the most significant artists of the group sharing their principles and their unique way of facing art. He turned to Brussels a few years later and opened an advertising agency. Magritte's fame was secured in 1936, after his first exhibition in New York. Since then, New York has been the location of two of the most important retrospective shows - at MoMA in 1965 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992.

"La Condition Humaine", in english, The Human Condition, is one of the many versions Magritte painted on the same theme. The picture is emblematic of the work he produced in Paris during the 1930's, when he was still under the spell of the Surrealists. Generally the name of the painting is valid to refer to two similar oil in canvas Magritte painted. One was completed in 1933 and is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and the other was completed in 1935 and is part of the Simon Spiere Collection in Geneva, Switzerland. A number of drawings of the same name exist as well, including one, at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Here, Magritte executes a kind of optical illusion. He depicts an actual painting on a landscape displayed in front of an open window and he makes the image on the painted picture match perfectly with the "true" landscape outdoors. In doing so, Magritte proposed, in one unique image, the association between nature and its representation through the means of art. This work also stands as an assertion of the artist's power to reproduce nature at will and proves how anbiguous and impalpable the border between exterior and interior, objectivity and subjectivity, and reality and imagination can be.
Source: Wikipedia, Steven Polimood, net

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