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Rene Margritte - The Son of Man

Size: 45.67 in x 35 in

Medium - Oil on Canvas

Origin - Belgium

Currently placed at - A private collection

Rene Margritte, is a Belgian Surrealist painter. The Son of Man was painted in 1964 and is considered one of his best known works of art. Margritte described his paintings saying "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, it is unknowable.

Rene Margritte was born in 1898. He learnt art for 2 years and gave up as he thought it was a waste of time. He did however, continue to paint and all of his paintings reflected cubism. After the year 1922, which was the early period of his career, he realized surrealism was the art form which he most enjoyed.

Margritte painted the piece Son of Man, as a self-portrait. The painting consists of a man wearing a shirt & amp; amp; red tie, in an overcoat and a bowler hat standing in front of a low wall, beyond it, is what appears to be the sea and a cloudy sky. What is interesting is that the man's face is mostly covered by a green apple. However, the man's eyes can be seen over the edge of the apple, looking towards the viewer. The apple has a stem and four symmetrical leaves intact. The normal portrait is being interrupted by the presence of the fruit. Another subtle feature is the subject's left arm which appears to be deformed or bent at the joint of the elbow.

This painting has a few elements which are quite common with Magritte's paintings. The Great War of Facades, which depicts a woman in a similar situation near a wall by the sea, with a flower covering her face. The meaning of the painting is quite puzzling, but as Margritte tried to explain to his audience, humans are curious, they always want to see the hidden things. There is a sense of frustration for not being able to see the face of the man. In his words "There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present".

Rene Margritte has been able to bring out a very intense emotion through this painting. When observing the colors, The Son of Man is painted in extreme colors, similar to some of Van Gogh's paintings.

Rene Margritte's Son of Man, along with Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, has become the most iconic images of Surrealism Movement.