The Treachery of Images- Related Pun and Everything Else

René Magritte is one of the very few painters I know of, and I respect and cherish the contribution he has made in the world of art and creativity. To all those who haven’t got a chance to recognise him and his work yet- he was an ingenious artist who began his career with abstraction works and is remembered and respected for his intriguing paintings. The first time I came across his work was 6 years back through a movie called “The Fault in Our Stars” (hating John Green doesn’t make us cool), where there was a mention of his very famous painting called “The Treachery of Images“. The painting had an image of a pipe with a caption “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (in French), which translates to “This is not a pipe“.


René Magritte later explained that “This is not a pipe but just a representation of it. So if I would have written on my painting ‘This is a Pipe’, I would have been lying“. I was moved by the painting and its surrealistic interpretation and have been researching on his work since then. Fast forward to November 2018, when I finally got a chance to go to ‘René Magritte Museum’ in Belgium, expecting to see his work (this very painting in particular). I was disappointed to know that this painting isn’t in Belgium but in Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LA). Although I didn’t get to see ‘The Treachery of Images’, but discovering his other works including the rough sketches and letters that were exhibited in the museum were worth a visit.

The other exciting piece of work was ‘Les Mots Et Les Images‘ which translates to ‘Words and Images‘. It’s a series of pictures and captions with an effort to explain the relationship between images, letters, words and their meanings. I finally managed to find an English translated version of it here. You might want to check it out for an interesting perspective of words, images and the relationship that they hold.

Above all, the most interesting part was the parody of ‘The Treachery of Images‘ that I found throughout my travel period in Europe. I am sharing the pictures of the same here without any intention to demean the original painting by René.

The first one is a restaurant in Brussels serving some great fries. I liked the way they have imitated René’s famous painting in his home city, with a touch of humour to add interest (worked for me at least).


The next picture below is a painting (not by René) exhibited in ‘René Magritte Museum’ which translates to “This continues to not be a pipe“. I think it compensates well for the absence of his real painting in the museum.


The last one is a random painting I found in one of the hostels during my stay. I liked the painting if you’ll pardon the pun.


That’s the best I’ve got for now. Hope you’ll find his work as fascinating as I did. Until next time! 🙂

Published by mrinalsemia

Hi, I'm Mrinal. Constantly trying to make sense of my life through stories.

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