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Painting, 1923

Description of the artwork «Self-portrait»

Rene Magritte liked to make riddles and did not like to attract too much attention. For decades, he managed to fool and puzzle the audience, while remaining in the shadows. The artist “encrypted himself” in numerous canvases - the very ones depicting a mysterious man in a bowler hat, who over the years turned into a kind of alter ego of Magritte. This person appears on the artist’s canvases at least 53 times. And if you recall his "propagated" image from the painting "Golconda”, Then to this number you can safely add a couple dozen. A person in a bowler hat is always a riddle - sometimes humorous, and sometimes threatening.

For the first time this hero appeared in the picture "Lonely Walker's Thoughts"(1926), shortly after the start of the surreal period in the work of Magritte. On this canvas, the man in the bowler turned his back to the viewer, as in many subsequent works. In other paintings, we can already see his face, but almost always not entirely - it is hidden, for example, by an apple or a flying white dove. This is the main focus of Magritte: he does not allow the viewer to see himself as a whole. The same can be said of the two portraits that suggest autobiography - “The attempt of the impossible"(1928) and"Clairvoyance"(1936). Both canvases depict the artist at work, but only his profile can be seen. In addition, the hero seems so enthusiastic about the creative process that it even becomes a little uncomfortable, as if you were spying on him in the keyhole.

The only work by Rene Magritte, unambiguously called a self-portrait, is the cubist canvas of 1923. However, even here the artist does not allow the viewer to discern his “true face”, hiding him in a heap of colored planes.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Cubism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1923

Artwork in selections: 26 selections