Rene Magritte – The treachery of images 1929 (This is not a pipe) Meanings and analysis HD
April 1, 2021
When Magritte painted the Treachery of Images
In 1929 Magritte was 30 years old and depressed by the failure of his first exhibition in Belgium . Rene Magritte left his homeland and 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.
The Treachery of Images (La Trahison des images) 1929 analysis
The painting is also known as This Is Not a Pipe and The Wind and the Song.Magritte painted it when . The subject is the simple image of a smoker’s pipe on a plain background, such as you might see on a poster advertising a tobacco store. Underneath the pipe Magritte has painted the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, which is French and translates as “This is Not a Pipe”.
To the uninitiated in art culture, this might seem a rather mundane and simplistic piece of work, but Magritte’s creation is a masterpiece of surrealism and has far deeper meanings.
He had a fascination with the interaction between words and images, probably stemming from his time spent as a commercial artist, and the quality of his illustrations result in images that are clear and simple, at the same time as provoking stimulating thoughts.
The Deception of images
The word, Treachery, as used in the title of this painting, might seem a little incongruous; perhaps Deception would have been a more appropriate noun to use. Possibly Magritte used the stronger word to impress the concept that we regularly need to tell ourselves lies of varying magnitude, to make sense of the world around us?
Magritte’s point was that even if paintings are representational, they are only a symbol of the thing they represent. This may seem obvious, but it’s pretty clever way to address the semiotic gap between the visual and the verbal, and makes you think twice about the relationship we have with images. In true Surrealist fashion, Magritte is questioning the terms of reality we mostly take for granted. A picture of a thing is…not that thing! We make the connection ourselves, and Magritte and his dream-obsessed homies were attempting to disrupt that process, or at least make us more aware of how it works.
In order to do that, René Magritte made some weird art. Maybe he was smoking something stronger than tobacco in his infamous pipe?
The paintings is on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The meaning of “This is not a pipe” is like “The map is not the territory”
The theme of pipes with the text “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” is extended in Les Mots et Les Images, La Clé des Songes, Ceci n’est pas une pipe (L’air et la chanson), The Tune and Also the Words, Ceci n’est pas une pomme,and Les Deux Mystères. The painting is sometimes given as an example of meta message conveyed by paralanguage, like Alfred Korzybski’s “The word is not the thing” and “The map is not the territory”, as well as Denis Diderot’s This is not a story. One interpretation is that the pipe in the painting is not a pipe, but rather a drawing of a pipe. On December 15, 1929, Paul Éluard and André Breton published an essay about poetry in La Révolution surréaliste (The Surrealist Revolution) as a reaction to the publication by poet Paul Valéry “Notes sur la poésie” in Les Nouvelles littéraires of September 28, 1929. When Valéry wrote “Poetry is a survival”, Breton and Éluard made fun of it and wrote “Poetry is a pipe”, as a reference to Magritte’s painting.
The revolution of Surrealists
In the same edition of La Révolution surréaliste, Magritte published “Les mots et les images” (his founding text which illustrated where words play with images), his answer to the survey on love, and Je ne vois pas la [femme] cachée dans la forêt, a painting tableau surrounded by photos of sixteen surrealists with their eyes closed, including Magritte himself.
(row 1) Maxime Alexandre, Louis Aragon, André Breton, Luis Bunuel, Jean Caupenne (row 2) Salvador Dalì and Paul Éluard (row 3) Max Ernst and Marcel Fourrier (row4) Camille Goemans and René Magritte (row 5 ) Paul Nougé, Georges Sadoul, Yves Tanguy, André Thirion, and Albert Valentin