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The treachery of images (This is not a pipe)

Rene Magritte

The treachery of images (This is not a pipe)

Rene Magritte
  • Original Title: La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe)
  • Date: 1928 - 1929; Brussels, Belgium 
  • Style: Surrealism
  • Period: Vache Period
  • Genre: symbolic painting
  • Media: oil, canvas
  • Tag: cigarettes-and-pipes
  • Dimensions: 63.5 x 93.98 cm

'The Treachery of Images' cleverly highlights the gap between language and meaning. Magritte combined the words and image in such a fashion that he forces us to question the importance of the sentence and the word. "Pipe," for instance, is no more an actual pipe than a picture of a pipe can be smoked. Magritte likely borrowed the pipe motif from Le Corbusier's book 'Vers une architecture' (1923), since he was admirer of the architect and painter, but he may also have been inspired by a comical sign he knew in an art gallery, which read, "Ceci n'est pas de l'Art." The painting is the subject of a famous book-length analysis by Michel Foucault. One might also compare it with Joseph Kosuth's handling of a similar problem of image, text, and reality in his 1965 installation 'One and Three Chairs'.

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