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The improvement

René Magritte • Painting, 1962, 65.1×54.3 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Allegorical scene
Style of art: Surrealism, Magical realism
Technique: Gouache
Materials: Paper, Gouache
Date of creation: 1962
Size: 65.1×54.3 cm
Artwork in selections: 8 selections

Description of the artwork «The improvement»

The painting "Adorned" is one of the pinnacles of René Magritte's work, belonging to his last period. In a beautiful poetic form the work combines opposing concepts and states: day and night, inner and outer, reality and illusion. The open door motif first appeared in a Surrealist painting in the 1930s, and, according to him, this element solved one of the painterly "problems." In a lecture given in 1938, Magritte put it this way: "The problem of the door required an opening into which one could enter," referring to a solution to the perception of simple objects in art.

Perhaps the image of the open door in the artist's work was borrowed from Marcel Duchamp and his famous readymade at 11 Larray Street, presented in 1927. By depicting the door in his paintings, Magritte questions our perception of this object as a place of transition from inner space to outer space, the juxtaposition of daylight and artificial light and a point of access to the reality of the outer world. In "Adorned," the painter takes his play with the phenomena described to the point of confusing us and questioning conventional notions of reality. Magritte uses his trademark, almost photorealistic style of painting, yet his canvas "breaks" the logic of the viewer and forces him to ask: "If the door separates the room from the landscape, why is the landscape seen to its right and left? Perhaps it is only a drawing on the walls of the room? Or is the door standing on the beach - but then why is there light coming through it when shadows lie all around? For what reason is the perspective of the door inconsistent with the image of the beach? Is it a deception of vision, reminding us that we have only a painting in front of us, or some other, impossible reality?" Unfortunately, Magritte does not give us direct answers to these questions.

The main paradox of The Embellished can be summed up by the aphorism of Magritte's friend the poet Paul Nougat: "Nothing makes the reality of space so questionable as its representation. As a result, the pictorial mystery of this painting leads us into a new reality where everyday life is full of mystery and enigma, questioning our perception of the world and its representation in art.

There are various variations of the Embellished, done both in oil and in gouache.

Text prepared by Elina Bagmet