Name: The Son of Man print
Author: Rene Magritte
Type: Canvas Print
Condition: Stretched (Ready to hang) or Rolled
Fresh Color Forever
Rene Magritte’s painting Son of Man – meaning and description
The painting “The Son of Man” is one of the most well-known works by Rene Magritte (1898 – 1967), a Belgian artist of the twentieth century. The work was created in the author’s signature realistic style with oil paints and canvas. A single figure in a bowler hat with the famous green apple, placed directly in front of and mostly concealing the face, evokes many associations. On the one hand, a monolithic painting in technique; on the other, an incredible combination of elements.
The meaning of the painting and description
The recognizable masterpiece is a self-portrait of a man dressed in a dark gray bowler hat, coat, white shirt, and red tie standing in front of the viewer. The arms are lowered down the sides of the body.
The hero is shown standing in front of a low stone wall, with a smooth blue sea behind him, which fades into a pink sky with thunderclouds to the left. The clouds, which are modeled in blue-gray green tones, create a stunning atmosphere. A green apple floats in the air between the viewer and the man’s face.
The fruit is distinguished by a long petiole and five symmetrically arranged leaves. The apple hovering in front of the face partially obscures it, despite the fact that it should be a self-portrait. The artist is concealing himself behind something obvious. This is a mystery and a provocation that piques the reader’s interest. The author frequently dressed up as the person in the picture. This suit was thought to be camouflage, allowing the wearer to blend in with the crowd. A comparable image can be found in the painting “Golconda.”
In other paintings by the artist, the face is completely hidden, whether wrapped in cloth or hidden behind something. However, it appears that the man is looking at the viewer through the apple. If you look closely, you can see that the person’s left hand and elbow joint are bent back.
Perhaps the author’s work was influenced by childhood trauma – his mother’s suicide when he was 14 years old. Although the surrealist denies having been influenced by this event, it is clear that it has had an impact on his approach to painting.
The surreal work of art is frequently combined in a series with two other works from 1964. The first image is a Man in a Bowler Hat, which depicts the same figure of a man but with his face obscured by a flying bird. The second is “The Great War,” which depicts an elegantly dressed woman on the seashore with blossoming flowers covering her face in a similar setting.
It was also suggested that the work’s title could be a reference to Christianity, and that the green apple is a symbol of temptation. The apple is a symbol of knowledge and the fall of man in Christian mythology, recalling the story of Adam and Eve, who took an apple from a serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Another theory is that the popular image of a man with an apple instead of a head represents the modern businessman’s anonymity and the need to conceal his true identity in order to conform. The way an apple covers a person’s face indicates that he hides his true self from society’s gaze.
The “Son of Man” describes the natural nature of life’s events, in which something mysterious or hidden is always present – both in philosophy and in reality. The painting has influenced artists in a variety of fields and has appeared in advertisements, films (including The Thomas Crown Affair), and books. The famous work of The Son of Man has many copies and reproductions, but the original is in a private collection.