René Magritte [1898 – 1967] was a Belgian surrealist artist known for his thought-provoking and enigmatic paintings. Many of his paintings play with the concepts of reality, identity and truth, and some of the most recognised painting are The Lovers , Not to Be Reproduced , Golconda , The Son of Man  and The Man with the Bowler Hat . In this post, I would like to draw attention to and discuss the three others: Memory, The Survivor and The Masterpiece or The Mysteries of the Horizon.
I. Memory 
Unlike other paintings on this list, Memory is an allegorical painting, a painting with a hidden meaning. It is a striking painting for many reasons and one of those is the contrast of the white and the red – a beautiful white bust here is tainted with blood. That “injury” on the bust may represent this woman’s traumatic and painful memory which she now has to bear. The irony here is that this blood is what makes this bust “come alive” – it gives this woman’s head the qualities of a real person, probably, a person in pain. Memory forms such an integral part of who we are, and what is our reality and daily life that, without it, we are lost. The possible “bleeding” out of “memory” in this image may hint at this person slowly being converted into a statue, which she has become – since we are looking at a bust. One trivia for film lovers here is that this painting probably served as an inspiration for one of the murder scenes in Anthony Minghella’s film The Talented Mr Ripley (1999).
II. The Survivor 
This is a surrealist symbolic painting which immediately makes a powerful statement, especially if you know the title of the painting – The Survivor. This is again an example of Magritte’s play with our perception of reality. Even though this painting is a mere presentation of a rifle and a patch of something dark spilled underneath – blood, right?, the impact here on our perception is immense and even traumatic. Upon seeing this painting, we are not so concerned with a rifle near the wall and some blood spilled underneath, but what this represents and means. Magritte liked to say that “an image is just an image”, but we ponder – is the rifle here the sole survivor of violence, bleeding out? The personification of a rifle is almost irresistible (“the last man (thing) standing” idea) – but was it – or can it be considered – a prime assailant or a mere victim (being used to achieve the end result)? What is clear is that some kind of violence was committed some time previously in that room depicted and the rifle was the (sole) survivor of that act. The warm, flowery wallpaper only makes this painting more effective since it provides a nice contrast to the “out-of-place” rifle and the blood.
III. The Masterpiece or The Mysteries of the Horizon 
This enigmatic painting is very thought-provoking. In it, we see three gentlemen who look in different directions and face different things. They are presented together in the picture and wear identical clothing, and yet, it is hard to imagine them as part of a group. The fact that they are looking in different directions may mean that their reality is different. The gentlemen also have their own separate waxing crescent moons above their heads, which only emphasises the idea that they exist separately from each other. In that vein, one may ponder how people who seemingly share the same characteristics, who inhabit the same space and who find themselves in such close proximity to one another may still feel isolated and apart from one another. Another message here may be that even if the horizon (or the world itself) does not change, one’s outlook and perception of it may, for example, due to one’s inner beliefs and viewpoints. The perception of the world changes depending on different perspectives of viewing it.