Rene Magritte (1898-1967): La Lampe Philosophique1/20/2021, 3:23:16 PM
Rene Magritte (1898-1967): La Lampe Philosophique (Philosopher's Lamp), 1936, oil on canvas, 50 x 60 cm, Private Collection Although he is often grouped with Surrealists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and Yves Tanguy, Magritte took a somewhat different approach to painting. Rather than creating fantasy imagery, he evoked the strangeness and ambiguity latent in reality. "I don't paint visions," he once said. "To the best of my capability, by painterly means, I describe objects — and the mutual relationship of objects — in such a way that none of our habitual concepts or feelings is necessarily linked with them." Magritte’s works aimed to challenge the viewers’ prerequisite perspectives of reality. A lingering sense of uneasiness is created when viewing his works. They evoke the viewer’s thoughts, and contemplate the relationships between the objects depicted in the painting. The tension between the objects can be felt by the viewer followed by the viewers awe and admiration of how the simple yet extraordinary composition of the painting has allowed these seemingly unrelated objects to fall into place next to each other, harmoniously. Magritte associated 'La lampe Philosophique', in which a man appears to smoke his own phallus shaped nose, with "the meditations of an absentminded, obsessive philosopher that may conjure up the image of a mental world closed in upon itself as, in this case, the smoker is the prisoner of his pipe." The man's face may be a self portrait, with the obvious exception of the oversize nose.