Persian Letters


René Magritte ( Belgian, 1898 - 1967 )

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General Description

As a surrealist artist, René Magritte painted ordinary objects in unusual circumstances in order to question our perceptions of reality. He also frequently chose titles that seem unrelated to his works, challenging viewers to devise their own meanings for his paintings. Here, for instance, "Persian Letters" is the title of an 18th–century literary satire describing the travels of two Persian noblemen in France. When we look at Magritte's painting, however, what we see is a pair of trousers standing on top of a table. This unexpected juxtaposition prompts several questions. What do trousers have to do with 18th–century France, and where is the person who should be wearing them?

Excerpt from

Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2010.

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