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It looks so real!
René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967)<br><i>Promenades of Euclid</i>, 1955<br>Oil on canvas
zoom René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967)
Promenades of Euclid, 1955
Oil on canvas


The eye is a friend of the conscious mind—seeing is believing, as the saying goes. Some Surrealists painted fantastic scenes in a crisp and clear style meant to make their visions seem believable and real.

René Magritte (ruh-nay muh-GREET) did not share the Surrealists’ interest in dreams. Instead, he liked to present easily recognized, everyday objects in puzzling situations. He insisted that his paintings, unlike dreams, had no symbolic meaning. He simply intended to confuse the rational mind, through surprise and mystery. Here, for example, it’s hard to say whether the street scene actually exists outside the window or is painted on the canvas held up by the easel. Magritte hoped this sense of mystery would make people question their experience of the ordinary world.

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1. Even imaginary forms can be painted in a realistic manner.
Yves Tanguy, Reply to Red, 1943, oil on canvas


April 2006