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

About Time Transfixed

“Time Transfixed” is a symbolic painting by Rene Magritte, an influential artist of Surrealism. Completed in 1938, the artwork was rendered in oil on canvas and is a testament to the innovative spirit of the movement, designed to unlock the imagination and delve into the subconscious. Measuring 97 x 146 cm, the painting was created in Brussels, Belgium, and is currently held at the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States.

The artwork presents a striking scene that juxtaposes a speeding locomotive with a domestic interior. Emerging from a fireplace, the train’s powerful emanation of smoke adds to the element of surprise and communicates an unsettling distortion of reality, which is a hallmark of Surrealist works. The fireplace stands against a neatly organized room, adorned with a mantelpiece clock and a candlestick that suggest an environment of order and domestic routine. In contrast, the sudden appearance of the train suggests an interruption, an intrusion of the industrial and the extraordinary into the personal and the ordinary. The precise draftsmanship and realistic detail heighten the sense of dream-like absurdity, compelling viewers to question the boundaries of reality and illusion. This masterful fusion of the everyday with the fantastical captures the viewer’s imagination and invites them to explore the depths of their own psyche as well as the paradoxes of time and existence.

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