The first painting from the series Lovers, 1928

Paintings Lovers by Rene Magritte

The first painting from the series Lovers, 1928
The first painting from the series Lovers, 1928

The Lovers is the famous series of four paintings by Rene Magritte in 1928, which gave rise to a lot of speculation and became an intriguing mystery for the audience. The most popular paintings depict a man and a woman with their heads wrapped in white cloth. In lesser-known works, the faces of the characters are open, but the image of a man is represented only by a head floating in the air. The master did not leave explanations for such allegorical images, giving his contemporaries a chance to independently comprehend the secret meaning of the encrypted message.

Author: Rene Magritte (1898-1967).
Year of writing: 1928.
Dimensions: 54 x 73.4 cm.
Style: Surrealism.
Genre: Allegory.
Technique: Oil.
Material: Canvas.
Location: New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

The second painting from the series Lovers, 1928
The second painting from the series Lovers, 1928

René Magritte is a famous Belgian artist of the 20th century, an iconic figure of surrealism.

At the same time, the master himself strove for a figurative style that “challenges the real world” through a detailed naturalistic image. His everyday scenes are surrounded by everyday inanimate objects, but they reflect the unusual circumstances inherent in the “magical realism” of the artist.

The paintings “Lovers”, filled with deep philosophical meaning, are painted in a manner typical of the painter, using the poster technique. The first, also known as The Kissing Lovers, depicts an outburst of passion, which is expressed through the characteristic folds of fabric on the heads of a man and a woman. There are several interpretations of this allegory: The embodiment of the metaphor “lost their head from love.”

The outbreak of passion blinds, does not make it possible to notice the obvious. The kiss through the fabric depicts fake love, incapable of giving true happiness. Passion is sinful in nature. Therefore, it is bashfully hidden behind white bedspreads. Love does not lead to knowledge of the truth. Even people in love are not able to get to know each other completely. A more optimistic interpretation: love is self-sufficient, it has no material barriers, be it a double layer of matter or anything else.

The third painting from the series Lovers, 1928
The third painting from the series Lovers, 1928

Paintings “Lovers” by Rene Magritte – the mystery of the kiss through the fabric

In the second film, Lovers, Rene Magritte shows that passion has nothing to do with it. The plot of the work is filled with pacification. The stage is out of bounding walls and surrounded by a tranquil landscape. And the heroes are no longer focused on themselves, but are turned to the viewer. But their faces are still hidden behind the white cloth.

Perhaps the master depicted the apotheosis of love. An inner vision is revealed to a person who has experienced a genuine feeling. The barriers from the veils thrown over the characters of the scene cannot become a hindrance in enjoying true beauty. There are also versions due to the circumstances of the artist’s life:

The tragic death of the mother, whose face at the time of death was covered with a white shirt, undoubtedly caused psychological trauma and, possibly, served as a pretext for creating images.

The fourth painting from the series Lovers, 1928
The fourth painting from the series Lovers, 1928

Interest in disguises popularized in cinema, in particular, in the film “Fantômas”, the face of the protagonist of which no one has seen. Paul Nouge, friend, poet and founder of surrealism in Belgium, in a letter from 1927 advised Magritte to use similar techniques in his work.

The artist rejected all assumptions about the secret meaning of his works. But he admitted that he is trying to induce the viewer to think. In the next two films “Lovers”, he removed the veils from the heroes. But this did not diminish the number of questions.

René Magritte’s paintings are like intellectual puzzles. But it’s almost impossible to figure them out. Because the questions raised in them touch upon the philosophical category of the essence of the universe.