I wanted to meet him since High School. Unfortunately, he died in 1967, which makes the date a little complicated.
I had to choose an artist to copy in art class. Yes, you read that right, the teacher asked us to copy for 40% of our finale grade. So, looking in books to find the perfect artist to copy (because I wasn’t enough masochist to choose Monet, yet not lazy enough to choose Pollock), my eyes stopped on a man wearing a derby hat.
René Magritte had caught my attention and he kept it since that time.
Confusing me by telling a pipe was not a pipe, I couldn’t help but research a little more about this surrealist artist.
It turns out that this pipe wasn’t a pipe, because it was only the representation of it. It is only what we see.
What a fantastic way of thinking! Then, I wasn’t the teenager people saw, because that was maybe only the representation of me. I was free to be myself.
Fast forward more than ten years later, there I was, in Brussels. No need to say that a visit to Magritte Museum was non-negotiable.
Visiting the different floors, you’ll discover the painter’s evolution. I highly suggest you take the audio guide, because the anecdotes tell by Magritte’s friends, or Magritte himself, are essential to understand well the character.
From advertising posters to oil paintings, I learned a lot about the man I thought I knew. The Museum, in addition to showing more than 200 works, has done a very good job as presenting the man. Even if René Magritte had a reputation to be very discrete about his life, you will learn a lot about him through quotes, newspaper cuts, and bit and pieces of his friendships with other surrealist artists such as André Breton.
I like how Magritte proved that not all artists are unstable and poor. He lived a happy life with his wife, and always managed to make ends meet. Although he was criticized for his bourgeois way of life, he just didn’t care, and continued to do his thing. “Life obliges me to do something, so I paint”, he said.
Magritte didn’t want us to interpret his works. “My paintings has been made to be material signs of freedom of thought.”, he said. Hard not to try to find a hidden message between all the green apples, suits, birds and blue skies though.
I heard a lot of visitors giving their opinions about the meaning of some paintings, and I tried very hard not to do it myself. The Museum needs to be visited with an open mind, and a sense of humour. Don’t think it is only for highly intellectual people.
Unfortunately (but for good reasons), pictures were forbidden into the Museum, so I didn’t take any. Anyway, what’s a picture of an object. This is not a painting.
Practical info to visit Magritte Museum
- In order to preserve the paintings, the temperature in the museum is kept low, bring a sweater.
- Allow 2-3 hours to visit the museum.
- The Audioguide cost an extra fee of 4 €, but I really think you should afford it.
You might like these other posts about Belgium:
- Paying it Forward – Story From Antwerp
- 5 Reasons to Fall in Love With Ghent
- Street Art in Mons
- Treasure Hunt in Brussels, Capital of Comic Strips
Thanks to Magritte Museum to have received me freely in the museum so I can discover a little more of my favorite artist.