Here’s another of the images that I posted on the Message Board of the Damned so long ago. This is Rene Magritte’s The Lovers (1928, oil, 21″ x 29″, aka Les Amants), a piece which I’ve had ready to post for some time, but decided to hold onto. It’s just such an interesting, disturbing piece (maybe) that I had to finally write about it (well, again).
Magritte’s image is probably one of the most open to interpretation that I’ve ever seen. It can really be taken in just about any context, and the experiences of the viewer play a great part in that. Think about it for a second. Take a good, long look at the art. Once you’ve had your good long look, close your eyes and imagine the art again, and imagine what just happened before the scene and after.
I’ll give you a moment.
I’ll bet that the ideas you had in your head are fairly different from mine, and from everyone else’s. Magritte’s magic here is that the meaning behind the image is completely left up to us, and whether those ideas are light, have meaning, or are even dark. Are the lovers just goofing around in front of the camera? Is it a message about anonymity? Are these lovers about to be pushed off the train, and this is their last goodbye? It’s a fantastic work of the idea and of the content of the piece to keep everyone seeing their own stories.
What Magritte did beautifully too was to keep it simple. The color palette is subdued, so no one color is distracting. The detail is kept simple, even the background could be anywhere at nearly anytime. It’s level on the contrast, even the highlights on the shrouds aren’t fully white. Magritte made sure that none of the other elements of the art were distracting, they all work together so smoothly.
Magritte often had unusual, strange visions in his art. He created ideas and worlds that were odd, and yet somehow approachable. The Lovers is a great example of that, a work that anyone can make up their own mind on themselves. Is it dark? Is there a message? Is it all in fun?
It’s all up to you.