What does Magritte’s ‘Son of Man’ painting mean to you?

The Son of Man (French: Le fils de l’homme) is a 1946 painting by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. Many people have thoughts about the meaning behind this painting. How about you? Take a minute and share your thoughts as to the inference of this painting.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mannyr
    Jan 22, 2016 @ 00:59:00

    i think the man had a dark side like so many. So many things are odd to say the least. I.e. the right arm is actually showing an elbow facing front. Why is the right eye peeking out? Why did he entitle it ‘Son of Man’? I think he had a lot of unanswered questions. What do you think?


  2. Chris
    Jan 23, 2016 @ 00:37:06

    This is my best guess. He was pretty well known by this time so he was only trying to be original. In other words, he wanted to sell his painting to someone who would be asking questions about it when it had no real purpose or meaning. He was well aware of human curiosity. On his way to his favorite painting spot that day he tripped over a green apple. His elbow was hurting him because of his card game with the boys the night before. Calvin Coolidge popped into his mind randomly. His nephew had just fallen from a stone brick wall the day before. He combined these thoughts into his painting knowing that the unrelated items could never be thought of and that his painting would sell for a pretty penny.

    This may have been the cause of his dark side:

    “However, in 1912, as Magritte was 14 years old, a major event occurred which would forever change the future artist’s life. His mother, aged 41, for reasons never discovered, committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. Magritte and his brothers discovered their mother’s body which was nude, save for her night clothes which had floated in the water and had wrapped themselves around the corpse’s head, covering her face.”

    Check out this strange “presentation:”

    Click to access Drumm_Putting_God_in_a_Frame.pdf


  3. Mannyr
    Jan 23, 2016 @ 14:12:14

    Awesome read Chris. It is interesting to say the least. The author of the article hits the nail on the head with this quote: “Just as a painting has a signature which attests to the creator, Magritte recognizes the existence of a master artist. Magritte is attempting to encounter the master artist (God), yet he is doing so without the aid of special revelation. Through the use of images, and the responses they evoke, he is affirming the existence of God, yet his method provides no means to know or relate to that God. Thus ultimately Magritte and his art is deistic in its orientation.”
    The thought comes to me of President Thomas Jefferson (Deist) in his own crude way of cutting parts of the Bible out and making his own version of the Bible. Both of these men have tried to get next to God in their own way without the revelation of needing a Savior. The article is a real keeper with great insight, thanks for sharing. How did you find it?


  4. Chris
    Jan 23, 2016 @ 17:11:46

    I think I Googled Magritte’s name hoping to find out what he believed about God. I didn’t go deep enough to get specific information except what is hinted at in this article. I thought this article said quite a lot and I’m glad you found it interesting. I’m also curious as to how you stumbled upon this particular painting.


    • Mannyr
      Jan 24, 2016 @ 15:10:59

      I seem to recall the movie “Thomas Crown Affair.” The scene where lots of men wearing bowler hats were confounding the police and somewhere the picture of ‘Son of Man’ appeared. The apple of course drew me to explore the painting. I am thinking about another artists work, Hieronymus Bosch and one of his famous paintings ‘The Garden of pleasures.’ What fostered this search was my absolute enjoyment I found and still hold as pure reading fun in Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels. His first and the hook that has always built a character I can and do still hold fascinating; is my entitled The Black Echo. It introduced Harry Bosch former tunnel Rat in Vietnam now Los Angeles detective.
      To date Mr. Connelly has written 23 Harry Bosch novels and at least 6-7 other characters interrelated with Harry. Among the stand alone best is ‘the Poet’ rather dark but compelling. Sorry for the rambling on but Bosch is a buddy even if only in fiction at its best.


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