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Lovers in Separation as One of the Best and Most Sensual Rene Magritte Paintings

19.11.2021
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Rene Magritte Paintings

Today we know four different versions of the art painting “The Lovers”, which Magritte created in 1928. the French kiss-we are all familiar with close-ups from movies. But in the two most famous versions of the artist’s art style paintings, there is one mysterious element – faces wrapped in cloth.

Many creators were very interested in the masks, the mystery of what hides beneath the surface of the veil. Such could accompany fantasy films and historical thrillers.

But what is the meaning of “the lovers” by rene Magritte ?

Have a little patience! You can find the answer to this question below.

Why Does the Fabric Cover “The Lovers” by Rene Magritte?

Version 1

As we know from the facts, René Magritte was fascinated by Fantomas, the shadowy hero of a series of thrillers, novels and films whose identity remained a mystery because his face was hidden under a cloth or stocking.

Version 2

The next and much darker interpretation is as follows. When René Magritte was just over ten years old, his mother committed suicide and her body was found in the Sambre River, presumably with a nightgown around her face. According to the artist, he never found out if she had closed her eyes with it to avoid seeing the death she had chosen, or if it had been so veiled by the opacities of the water. It was most likely a very traumatic event in Magritte’s life.

Version 3

The main source of inspiration for René Magritte was the work “Song of Love” by Giorgio Chirico. In 1923, he discovered this unique universe in which he was ready to dissolve. As a surrealist painter, Magritte is always shifting, displacing and deflecting reality.

But let’s take a closer look and try to decipher the meaning of each of the four masterpieces of “Les amants” by the famous artist Magritte.

René Magritte’s Style of Painting in 4 Examples

“The Lovers I” (1928)

The Lovers I 1928

In this painting, “The Lovers I” by Rene Magritte, a couple in love gently and unobtrusively touch each other, as if they were posing for a family portrait or trying to enjoy each other’s presence.

These days, it could be a regular shot from a family photo shoot for the home archive or a new photo album. The picturesque background adds to the charm here. The author focuses on wildlife: the green forest and the sea against the background of lovers.

One thing that remains unclear is why the fabric is pressed so tightly against their faces and curls back over their shoulders, wrapping their necks like ropes. Because of such details, the tender intimacy of man and woman turns into a spectacle of alienation, suffocation and even a fatal encounter.

Two adults cannot really, freely communicate or touch each other. And the fabric separates them from each other forever.

“The Lovers II” (1928)

The Lovers II 1928

The second version in the lovers kissing painting series is very similar to the first, but “the kiss” by Rene is even more intimate and disturbing. In this version of the masterpiece story, a man and a woman, dressed just as in the original, lean in for a passionate kiss. But their attempt to get close again proves impossible because of this fabric. In contrast to the cultural scene of the previous Rene Magritte painting, a much more abstract background is given here. The author probably wanted to focus on the relationship between the lovers. Thus, we can guess that for two people, what is going on around them is unimportant.

We have a unique opportunity to look into the hidden aspects of the relationship, which are not even visible to the characters themselves. When the two people in “ The Lovers” painting embrace or kiss, they cannot see each other in the literal sense: both of their heads are completely covered by opaque material.

Agree that it is always difficult for us to decipher the true intentions, feelings and secret fantasies of those we love. No matter how you feel, no matter how much you love each other, no matter how picturesque the surroundings, there is always distance and caution. And no matter how close you are, it cannot be erased so easily.

There is a theory that it is a lesson in falling in love, when a person grows closer and closer and suddenly realizes that she can never really know him. It represents the conflict that exists between the image of the man created in his lover’s imagination and who he really is. We all look at each other through an opaque veil, holding on to what we do not understand. This, Magritte tells us, is what falling in love is. It is blind, ridiculous, but beautiful at the same time.

The artist’s first and second paintings are in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, USA.

“The Lovers III” (1928)

The Lovers III 1928

The other two versions of Lovers are much less well known because they are in private collections.

Also, without the fabric, they don’t have the same impact on the viewer, but they are also thought-provoking in their own right.

We can assume that the couple in this rene magritte’s painting is the same as in the first canvases.

“The Lovers IV” (1928)

The Lovers IV 1928

This is a continuation of the previous “The Lovers” artwork. In the fourth meaning of the painting, the woman is wearing the same dress, and the angle of the man’s face is similar to that in Lovers I. However, we can’t say for sure if it’s the same man or not, because his body is missing. But what does this mean? That his head is with this woman and his body and heart are with another? Is it a scene of betrayal or just a scene showing the impossibility of two lovers being together? Even if the couple looks happy as they touch or kiss each other without any barriers, could they be truly close without the physical presence of the man’s body? The more one delves into thinking about it, the more questions arise.

Unraveling the Magritte’s Work

René Magritte described his paintings’ meaning by stating that paintings are quite visible images that hide nothing behind them. Paintings evoke mystery, and indeed, when one sees one of his paintings, one asks oneself the simple question, “What does it mean?”

And in fact it means nothing, because the mystery is unknowable. And everyone can interpret it for themselves.

And so, as is often the case with art, masterpieces usually show us what we like to see in them ourselves.

The Artist’s Manner and Style

Magritte paints very softly. There are no clearly delineated strokes in his paintings. Everything is mixed and intertwined in a very harmonious way.

The composition of each painting is reminiscent of a successfully captured candid photograph. The figures are arranged in such a way that they are always in the center of attention, although their faces are slightly off-center. This gives the painting a sense of immediacy and lightness, as if the moment was not planned, but all happened at random.

René uses complementary colors and shades. The brown-red color of the wall and dress stands out against the gray-blue back wall. The colors in the painting are not bright, which creates a very pleasant impression of the work. The blue is muted by the gray, and the red is quite pale.

A Fresh Look at Paintings Today

Today, the artist’s paintings take on a much more literal meaning. Since the pandemic began, we have entered a world of detachment and isolation. A world in which lovers cannot meet. It is a relationship severed by law and a personal bond that never formed because two strangers could not face each other. Tension has formed around Zoom platform calls and regular phone calls. Now it can all be found in these pictures. Relevance is present in the unfortunate touch of lips, the young lovers never meeting.

The man in the paintings could wear his veil like a scarf. He throws it over his shoulder with the same indifference with which we wear surgical viral masks today. Unlike us, the lovers in this painting have their entire face covered. Their impersonality suggests a loss of uniqueness, a ghostly emptiness and confusion and instability. Like lovers, we are forced to ask ourselves who we are without human society and personal connections. Like them, we sit within our four walls with the opportunity to interact, but without much chance of meeting the people we want to meet.

The lovers deprived of their freedom in these paintings represent all of humanity today. These are the people who seek intimacy without knowing who they really are.

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