La Trahison Des Images (The Treachery of Images)

Rene Magritte


The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture “This is a pipe”, I’d have been lying!

His statement is taken to mean that the painting itself is not a pipe. The painting is merely an image of a pipe. Hence, the description, “this is not a pipe.” The theme of pipes with the text “Ceci n'est pas une pipe” is extended in his 1966 painting, Les Deux Mystères.

I love this. The text reads: “This is not a pipe.”

The philosophy behind this is wonderful. This is an image of a pipe- It is not itself a pipe. A full and intriguing idea that many people don’t seem to understand. 

Let’s just think about the severe backlash and chaos caused by the political cartoonist who drew a comic about Muhammad. 

“For a class about… 5 months ago? we had to choose a painting we hated and explain why. Most people went with Egyptian/Mayan/other ancient arts and said they didn’t like it ‘cause it wasn’t proportionate/realistic/visually appealing.

I, being the hipster that I am, went with Rene Magritte’s The Treachery of Images, in which he paints an image of a pipe and tells us it’s not a pipe. There’s a very long explanation as to why I disagree. Luckily, I got to say all of it 'cause they wanted us to write an essay, too. I got a 97 in that class because of that paper. They loved me.

Had to scan this in parts 'cause the canvas was like… 18 inches wide or something. Sorry for the lines in there.

Acrylics, several days, canvas pen for the text, and some sort of loose canvas that I taped down to cardboard for painting purposes.”