The Treachery of Images

The Treachery of Images
Artist René Magritte
Year 1928–29
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Dimensions 25 in × 37 in
63.5 cm × 93.98 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

The Treachery of Images is an iconic work of art completed in 1929. The painter, René Magritte, was a master of contemporary art. Completed when he was only 30 years old, the classic painting is an example of surrealism and uses a simple image to convey a deeper message. The painting along with its memorable words is a part of a series of word art images by the artist.

Style and Technique

René Magritte often used words and strong images to convey a message in his work. The oil on canvas painting is quite clearly a pipe, yet the words make it known that it is not a pipe. The “painting” is not a pipe, it is only a “painting of a pipe”. Magritte was known for painting with the clarity of an advertisement in a magazine, while infusing a message that causes the viewer to question their reality. The pipe’s deep shades of brown, its center placement on the canvas, and a background the color of bleached bones illustrate how contemporary art can have meaning.

A painting that uses a unique twist on conventional objects, The Treachery of Images is one of Magritte’s most recognizable pieces of art. The combination of words and the idea of questioning what one sees is a huge part of this painting’s appeal. René Magritte’s modern art classic remains a fixture in the world of surreal paintings.

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