The Empty Mask

The Empty Mask
Artist René Magritte
Year 1928
Medium Oil on canvas
Location National Museum Cardiff in Cardiff, Wales
Dimensions 31.97 in × 45.75 in
81.2 cm × 116.2 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

René Magritte painted The Empty Mask in 1928. In the late 1920’s, Magritte experimented with the concept of words and images. There are actually two versions of this artwork. One 4 framed picture consists simply of words on the canvas. The second and subject of this article, contains images in 5 frames. He was greatly influenced by the World War I works of Giorgio De Chirico. In 1973 this piece was purchased by the National Museum of Wales.


This style called for the combination of creating an image of important items and naming it with a significant title. This was an attempt to influence the viewer to compare the representation to words. The Empty Mask is displayed in a self-supported frame of an asymmetrical format. Magritte shows a sky, sleigh bells as decorations to a lead curtain, the frontage of a home, a form cut out of paper, a green forest and a blazing fire. In a 1929 essay, Magritte explains that each image contains another image.

Art Style

The Empty Mask is a symbolic painting of the Surrealist style painted in Magritte’s Surrealist years in Paris.

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