Magritte’s Song of Love, 1948
All Magritte literature recounts the emotionally and spiritually charged moment when Magritte first saw the work of Giorgio de Chirico.
In his own words, Magritte said, “[Marcel] Lecomte showed Magritte a picture by Chirico, The Love Song, and the painter could not hold back his tears.”
De Chirico’s Song of Love, 1914
What mattered to Magritte in de Chirico’s work was the startling discovery of the ascendency of poetry over traditional painting. In 1938, Magritte said of his revelation:
“In 1910, Chirico played around with beauty, imagining and realizing whatever he wished…This triumphant poetry supplanted the stereo-typed effect of traditional painting. It represented a complete break with the mental habits peculiar to artists who are prisoners of talent, virtuosity, and all the little aesthetic idiosyncrasies. It was a new vision through which the spectator might recognize his own isolation and hear the silence of the world.” (from David Sylvester’s René Magritte: Catalogue Raisonné, 1992)
De Chirico’s art catalyzed Magritte’s ideological and creative direction by legitimizing the Belgian artist’s search for a new philosophy, a new imagistic poetry. For Magritte, painting Surrealist pictures meant practicing the poetry of image.
Searching for that feeling of displacement, of mystery, Magritte followed de Chirico…
Happy Birthday, René Magritte (November 21, 1898 – August 15, 1967)