Perspective Madame Recamier by David (1999) by Rene Magritte

Perspective Madame Recamier by David - Rene Magritte - 1949

Artwork Information

TitlePerspective Madame Recamier by David
ArtistRene Magritte
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions60 x 80 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationPrivate Collection
Location Created Brussels, Belgium

About Perspective Madame Recamier by David

The artwork “Perspective: Madame Récamier by David” is a creation of the esteemed artist René Magritte, completed in the year 1949. This oil on canvas piece belongs to the Surrealist movement and measures 60 x 80 cm. Classified as an allegorical painting, the artwork currently resides in a private collection. The genesis of this piece occurred in Brussels, Belgium, embodying the peculiar thematic and stylistic inclinations that are characteristic of Magritte’s oeuvre.

The artwork presents an enigmatic reinterpretation of Jacques-Louis David’s neoclassical portrait of Madame Récamier, yet Magritte’s portrayal defies convention by replacing the figure of the sitter with a wooden casket. The casket, featuring the same form as the chaise-longue upon which Madame Récamier famously reclines in David’s portrait, rests against a backdrop that offers minimal context, thereby forcing the viewer’s focus on the object itself. A draped white cloth cascades from the open lid of the casket, providing a stark contrast against the otherwise somber tones. The casket’s ornamentation and details reflect a faithful mimicry of the daybed’s design elements. This juxtaposition of death and elegance forms a powerful visual metaphor, prompting contemplation on the relationship between life, art, and mortality—a theme oft explored in surrealist works. The absent subject, Madame Récamier, becomes a ghostly memory, encapsulated through this clever subversion of classical portraiture.

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