Rene Magritte The False Mirror 1928 René surrealism paintings meaning pronunciation biography inspiration analysis iris eye sky blue mirror reflection
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Rene Magritte – The False Mirror 1928 HD

Rene Magritte – The False Mirror 1928

The False Mirror 1928 by René Magritte

A huge, isolated eye stares out at the viewer. Its left, inner corner has a vivid, viscous quality. The anatomical detailing of this area and its surface sheen contrast with the matte, dead-black of the eye’s pupil, which floats, unmoored, against a limpid, cloud-filled sky of cerulean blue. Although the areas surrounding the eye’s iris are carefully shaded and modeled, giving the illusion of a play of light on three-dimensional form, the sky displays no trace of convexity; its puffy clouds are beautifully rendered, but not its blue expanse. As a result, the sky appears as though seen through a circular window rather than mirrored in the spherical, liquid surface of an eye.

The eye was a subject that fascinated many Surrealist poets and visual artists, given its threshold position between inner, subjective self and the external world. The Surrealist photographer Man Ray once owned The False Mirror, which he memorably described as a painting that “sees as much as it itself is seen.” His words capture the work’s unsettling character: it places the viewer on the spot, caught between looking through and being watched by an eye that proves to be empty. It opens onto a void that, for all its radiant, cumulus-cloud-filled beauty, seems to deny the possibility of human existence. MOMA

The False Mirror (1928) is a surrealist oil painting by René Magritte that depicts a human eye framing a cloudy, blue sky. In the depiction of the eye in the painting, the clouds take the place normally occupied by the iris.The painting’s original French title is Le faux miroir.

Magritte painted two versions of Le faux miroir ( The false mirror)

The original version of The False Mirror was painted at Le Perreux-sur-Marne, France in 1928. Between 1933 and 1936 it was owned by the surrealist photographer Man Ray.The painting was purchased from Man Ray by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It has remained in the MOMA permanent in collection since its purchase.

Magritte painted a second version of The False Mirror in 1935. The oil on canvas work, sized 19 × 27 cm, is in a private collection.

A gouache on paper version of The False Mirror, executed by Magritte in 1952, sold at auction in 2010 for GBP 373,250.


René Magritte the Surrealist

René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. René became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality. 

Magritte Rene Early works

Rene Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut, Belgium, in 1898. He was the oldest son of , . Thereafter, he and his two brothers were raised by his grandmother.Little is known about Magritte‘s early life. He began lessons in drawing in 1910

René François Ghislain Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium, on November 21, 1898, the oldest of three boys. His parents , Léopold Magritte a tailor and textile merchant, and Régina , who was a milliner before she got married .His father’s manufacturing business at times allowed the family to live in relative comfort, but financial difficulties were a constant threat and forced them to move about the country with some regularity. Magritte’s young world was dealt a far more destructive blow in 1912.

The tragic death of his mother – 1912

On 12 March 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. This was not her first attempt at taking her own life; she had made many over a number of years, driving her husband Léopold to lock her into her bedroom. One day she escaped, and was missing for days. Her body was later discovered a mile or so down the nearby river.

According to a legend, 13-year-old Magritte was present when her body was retrieved from the water, but recent research has discredited this story, which may have originated with the family nurse. Supposedly, when his mother was found, her dress was covering her face, an image that has been suggested as the source of several of Magritte’s paintings in 1927–1928 of people with cloth obscuring their faces, including Les Amants (The lovers) and The Invention of Life (L’Invention De-La-Vie) 1928 .Magritte found solace from the tragedy in films and novels and especially through painting.Magritte disagreed with such interpretations, denying any relation between his paintings and his mother’s death. “My painting is visible images which conceal nothing,” he wrote, “they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does it mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.”

Young Rene Magritte

Early works – Rene Magritte

Magritte’s earliest paintings, which date from about 1915, were Impressionistic in style. During 1916–1918, he studied at the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels,under Constant Montald, but found the instruction uninspiring. He also took classes at the Académie Royale from the painter and poster designer Gisbert Combaz.Although he was ultimately unimpressed with the institution, he was nonetheless exposed to emerging styles such as cubism and futurism, which significantly altered the direction of his work. Indeed, many of Magritte’s paintings during 1918–1924 were influenced by Futurism and by the figurative Cubism of Metzinger and Pablo Picasso.

see also Rene Magritte full biography by

Magritte and Paris Surrealists 1926 – 1930

Depressed by the failure, he moved to Paris.There he met and befriended several of the Paris Surrealists, including poets André Breton and Paul Éluard, and he became familiar with the collages of Max Ernst and became involved in the Surrealist group. An illusionistic, dream-like quality is characteristic of Magritte’s version of Surrealism. Magritte began to integrate text into some of his works.During this time he painted one of his most famous pieces, The Treachery of Images 1929, in which a detailed representation of a pipe is combined with the cursive statement: Ceci n’est pas une pipe (“This is not a pipe”). The painting questioned the authority of both images and words.In 1929 he exhibited at Goemans Gallery in Paris with Salvador Dalí, Jean Arp, de Chirico, Max Ernst, Joan Miró, Picabia, Picasso and Yves Tanguy.

Rene Magritteu best paintings


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List of Paintings by Rene Magritte

  • 1920 Landscape
  • 1921 The bathers
  • 1922 The Station and L’Écuyère
  • 1923 Self-portraitSixth NocturneGeorgette at the Piano and Donna
  • 1925 The Bather and The Window
  • 1926 The Lost JockeyThe Mind of the TravelerSensational NewsThe Difficult CrossingThe Vestal’s AgonyThe Midnight MarriageThe Musings of a Solitary WalkerAfter the Water my ButtsPopular PanoramaLandscape and The Encounter
  • 1927 The Enchanted Pose
  • 1927 Young Girl Eating a BirdThe Oasis (started in 1925), Le Double SecretThe Meaning of NightLet Out of SchoolThe Man from the SeaThe Tiredness of LifeThe Light-breakerA Passion for LightThe Menaced AssassinReckless SleeperLa Voleuse – The robberThe Fast HopeL’Atlantide and The Muscles of the Sky
  • 1928 The Lining of Sleep (started in 1927), Intermission (started in 1927), The Adulation of Space (started in 1927), The Flowers of the AbyssDiscoveryThe Lovers I & IIThe Voice of SpaceThe False MirrorThe Daring SleeperThe Acrobat’s IdeasThe AutomatonThe Empty MaskReckless SleeperThe Secret Lifeand Attempting the Impossible
  • 1929 The Treachery of Images (started in 1928), Threatening Weather and On the Threshold of Liberty
  • 1930 Pink Belles, Tattered SkiesThe Eternally ObviousThe LifelineThe Annunciation and Celestial Perfections
  • 1931 The Voice of the AirSummer and The Giantess
  • 1932 The Universe Unmasked
  • 1933 Elective AffinitiesThe Human Condition and The Unexpected Answer
  • 1934 The Rape
  • 1935 The Discovery of FireThe Human ConditionRevolutionPerpetual MotionCollective Invention and The Portrait
  • 1936 Surprise AnswerClairvoyanceThe HealerThe Philosopher’s LampThe Heart Revealed a portrait of Tita ThirifaysSpiritual ExercisesPortrait of Irène HamoirLa Méditation and Forbidden Literature
  • 1937 The Future of StatuesThe Black FlagNot to be ReproducedPortrait of Edward James and Portrait of Rena SchitzOn the Threshold of Liberty
  • 1938 Time TransfixedThe Domain of ArnheimSteps of Summer and Stimulation Objective
  • 1939 VictoryThe Palace of Memories
  • 1940 The ReturnThe Wedding Breakfast and Les Grandes Espérances
  • 1941 The Break in the Clouds
  • 1942 Misses de L’Isle AdamL’Ile au TrésonMemoryBlack MagicLes compagnons de la peur and The Misanthropes
  • 1943 The Return of the FlameUniversal Gravitation and Monsieur Ingres’s Good Days
  • 1944 The Good Omens
  • 1945 Treasure IslandLes Rencontres Naturelles and Black Magic
  • 1946 L’Intelligence and Les Mille et une Nuits
  • 1947 La Philosophie dans le boudoirThe CiceroneThe LiberatorThe Fair CaptiveLa Part du Feu and The Red Model
  • 1948 Blood Will TellMemoryThe Mountain DwellerThe Art of LifeThe PebbleThe Lost JockeyGod’s SolonShéhérazadeL’Ellipse and Famine and The Taste of Sorrow
  • 1949 MegalomaniaElementary Cosmogony, and Perspective, the Balcony
  • 1950 Making an EntranceThe Legend of the CenturiesTowards PleasureThe Labors of AlexanderThe Empire of Light II, The Fair Captive and The Art of ConversationThe Survivor
  • 1951 David’s Madame Récamier (parodying the Portrait of Madame Récamier), Pandora’s BoxThe Song of the VioletThe Spring Tide and The Smile
  • 1952 Personal Values and Le Sens de la Pudeur and The Explanation
  • 1953 GolcondaThe Listening Room and a fresco, The Enchanted Domain, for the Knokke CasinoLe chant des sirènes
  • 1954 The Invisible World and  the empire of light series
  • 1955 Memory of a Journey and The Mysteries of the Horizon
  • 1956 The Sixteenth of SeptemberThe Ready-made Bouquet
  • 1957 The Fountain of YouthThe Enchanted Domain
  • 1958 The Golden LegendHegel’s HolidayThe Banquet and The Familiar World
  • 1959 The Castle in the PyreneesThe Battle of the ArgonneThe AnniversaryThe Month of the Grape Harvest and La clef de verre (The Glass Key)
  • 1960 The Memoirs of a Saint
  • 1962 The Great TableThe HealerWaste of EffortMona Lisa(circa 1962) and L’embeillie (circa 1962)
  • 1963 The Great FamilyThe Open AirThe Beautiful SeasonPrinces of the AutumnYoung LoveLa Recherche de la Véritéand The Telescope and ” The Art of Conversation”
  • 1964 Le soir qui tombe (Evening Falls), The Great WarThe Great War on FacadesThe Son of Man and Song of Love
  • 1965 Le Blanc-Seing,Carte BlancheThe Thought Which SeesAges Ago and The Beautiful Walk (circa 1965), Good Faith
  • 1966 The ShadesThe Happy DonorThe Gold RingThe Pleasant TruthThe Two MysteriesThe Pilgrim and The Mysteries of the Horizon
  • 1967 Les Grâces NaturellesLa GéanteThe Blank PageGood ConnectionsThe Art of LivingL’Art de Vivre and several bronze sculptures based on Magritte’s previous works

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