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René Magritte’s works (1898-1967)
René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images. His intended goal for his work was to challenge observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality and force viewers to become hypersensitive to their surroundings. Magritte’s work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe "Ceci n’est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. Magritte’s use of ordinary objects in unfamiliar spaces is joined to his desire to create poetic imagery. The poetry of this image dispenses with any symbolic significance, old or new.