Elective Affinities

Elective Affinities
Artist René Magritte
Year 1933
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Private collection
Dimensions 16.1 in × 13 in
41 cm × 33 cm
René Magritte Famous Paintings
The Son of Man, 1964
The Treachery of Images, 1928–29
The Human Condition, 1933
Golconda, 1953
The Listening Room, 1952
The False Mirror, 1928
Elective Affinities, 1933
The Mysteries of the Horizon, 1955
The Empty Mask, 1928
Complete Works

Elective Affinities was an oil canvas painting created by René Magritte, a Belgian surrealist artist. This impressive artwork was based on Johann Goethe’s human chemical theory. The concept behind this theory is that external forces have a great impact on the will.

About the Painting

The painting depicts the fact that a person’s ideas are hatched into a concrete world that is enclosed by external forces. In terms of thermodynamics, this 1933 surrealistic painting depicts the relation of free will and the concept of chemical affinity. This theory was introduced by Johann von Goethe, a German polymath. Elective Affinities by René Magritte captured the essence of this theory, which explained the rationale behind free will. Although we may feel free, there are always instances or forces that we cannot control. Hence, human beings may feel as though they are caged because of their inability to take full control of the circumstances that occur in their life. These facts of life are encapsulated in this oil on canvas painting by Magritte.

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