| Magritte, Rene Biography
Belgian artist, one of the most prominent Surrealist painters whose bizarre flights of fancy blended horror, peril, comedy, and mystery. His oil paintings were characterized by particular symbols-the female torso, the bourgeois "little man," the bowler hat, the castle, the rock, the window, and others.
Rene Magritte studied at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. His first one-man exhibition was in Brussels in 1927. At that time Rene Magritte had already begun to paint in the style, closely akin to surrealism, that was predominant throughout his long career. A meticulous, skillful technician, he is noted for works that contain an extraordinary juxtaposition of ordinary objects or an unusual context that gives new meaning to familiar things. This juxtaposition is frequently termed magic realism, of which Rene Magritte was the prime exponent.
The sea and wide skies, which were enthusiasms of his childhood, figure strongly in his oil paintings. In Threatening Weather (1928) the clouds have the shapes of a torso, atuba, and a chair. In The Castle of the Pyrenees (1959) a huge stone topped by a small castle floats above the sea. Other representative fancies were a fish with human legs, a man with a bird cage for a torso, and a gentleman leaning over a wall beside his pet lion. Dislocations of space, time, and scale were common elements. In Time Transfixed (1939), for example, a steaming locomotive is suspended from the centre of a mantelpiece in a middle-class sitting room, looking as if it had just emerged from a tunnel. In Golconda (1953) bourgeois, bowler-hatted men fall like rain toward a street lined with houses.
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