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“The Son of Man” by Rene Magritte, 1946 – the Meaning and Description of the Painting

24 March 2022
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The Son of Man - Rene Magritte. Canvas, oil. 116 x 89 cm


Once, Harry Torchiner, who was a collector, ordered a self-portrait of Rene Magritte, but it was difficult for Rene to draw himself as he was. That is why he covered his face with a green apple. As a result, Magritte did not draw himself, but rather some anonymous person with a bowler hat and under the "Son of Man" title.

The central character in this painting is a man wearing a formal long jacket, creating the appearance of a disproportionately elongated body, and a white shirt with a red tie and a black bowler hat. Subsequently, this element of his toilet could be traced in the artist's several canvases. The background of the painting is the sky filled with swirling clouds, smoothly flowing into the blue sea. When looking at such a picture behind the “anonymous” back, the harmony and calmness bloom in the soul.

Despite the seemingly presentable appearance, the spectator will never be able to know for sure what personality and are hidden in the "Son of Man” and will not be able to understand his essence due to one small detail - an apple.

There are numerous opinions on what exactly is symbolized by the bright green spot on the picture. The versions complement each other. And yet, if we think based on the name, the Paradise fruit - an apple - launched an irreversible process of the human life birth on Earth. Basing on Christian considerations, it could be assumed that the picture demonstrates a surreal image of Jesus Christ.

One of the other versions lies in the psychological perception of objects. The man shown on the picture does not differ from a million other men in a suit and hat of those times. But visually it becomes very interesting to look at his quite gray and ordinary face. One wants to see what is hidden from his eyes. And Rene played on human curiosity, saying "The visible always hides another visible behind it."
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