Book review — This is Magritte

A concise, well written, and thoughtfully illustrated book about a master of surrealism. Learnt interesting insights about Rene Magritte. One can appreciate how aspects of his life affected his artistic work, including his family experiences, coming of age, and his (sometimes fraught) relationships with friends and peers. The book also provides good explanations of the contests for artistic narratives, for example the distinction between the Parisian and Belgian surrealists (the role of music is key). And clarity of Magritte’s views about his own work, for example his firm rebuttal of psychoanalytical interpretations: “In my painting, a bird is a bird. And a bottle is a bottle, not a symbol of a womb.” (But we can ask, “Is it a pipe?”)

An enjoyable and nourishing read, which encourages one to seek out other volumes in this series.

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