Magritte’s Prophetic Surrealism

Jackson Arn in the Boston Review:

While I was reading Magritte: A Life, I started to notice apples everywhere. I’d be on the train, learning about The Son of Man—the 1964 portrait of a bowler-hatted man whose face is masked by a floating green apple—and the woman sitting across from me would be wearing a T-shirt with a reproduction of same painting. Or I’d be in a café and someone a few seats away would be eating an apple in an identical shade of cat’s-eye green. I’d take notes on my laptop and catch a glimpse of the glowing apple on the back. The world suddenly seemed full of apples. This wasn’t an epiphany; it felt smaller and stranger, an itch I couldn’t quite scratch—in a word, Magritte.

René François Ghislain Magritte: born 1898, died 1967; noted fan of bowler hats and pipes; creator of some 1,100 oil paintings and another 850 works on paper, many of which now seem kitschy or lazily repetitive; and yet, I suspect, the twentieth-century artist whose work best anticipated the texture and tenor of life in the twenty-first.

More here.