Time Transfixed (1939) by Rene Magritte

Time Transfixed - Rene Magritte - 1938

Artwork Information

TitleTime Transfixed
ArtistRene Magritte
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions97 x 146 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US
Location Created Brussels, Belgium
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About Time Transfixed

Time Transfixed is an oil on canvas painting by the renowned surrealist painter René Magritte. Completed in 1938, the painting depicts a steam train emerging from a fireplace and is considered a classic example of Magritte’s style. This piece is part of the permanent collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and is typically on display in the museum’s Modern Wing.

Magritte’s style often involved transforming everyday objects into fantastical and surreal scenes that challenge our perceptions of reality. In “Time Transfixed”, he has transformed the stovepipe of a coal-burning stove into a charging locomotive, bringing together elements that are not normally associated with each other to create an uncanny visual experience.

The title “La durée poignardé” means “ongoing time stabbed by a dagger” in French, adding another layer of meaning to this already enigmatic artwork. By juxtaposing different elements of time and space together in one surreal scene, Magritte draws attention to their interrelation and invites viewers to question their own understanding of what constitutes normal and real experience.

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