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The treachery of images (This is not a pipe) Prev Next

La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe)


Completion Date: 1948

Place of Creation: Brussels, Belgium

Style: Surrealism

Period: Vache Period

Genre: symbolic painting

Technique: oil

Material: canvas

Gallery: Private Collection

Tags: cigarettes-and-pipes

The Treachery of Images displays Magritte’s attempt to have the viewer question their reality. The painting portrays a large single pipe, and at the bottom of the painting, in French, states “This is not a pipe.” Magritte’s point is simple: the painting is not a pipe; it is an Image of a pipe. An anecdotal story is that when Magritte was asked if the painting was a pipe, he replied that of course it is not a pipe, and suggested that they try to stuff it with tobacco. He used the same technique in a painting of an apple, portraying a large green apple, with the line “This is not an apple.”

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