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The Lovers
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jtucker's picture

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If you are looking for some juicy voyeuristic pleasure, Magritte’s painting The Lovers might just not do it for you.

That feeling of being so close, yet so far away has never been truer than in this teaser of a romantic embrace.

Could this be a sign of lovers on the DL? Or perhaps a classic case of chronic butter face. Either way, there is some funny business going on here that doesn’t seem quite right. Unless they are Orthodox Jews…I hear they can do some crazy things with a sheet and a pair of scissors.  

Desire and frustration are common themes in Magritte’s work, and might I say, the sexual tension is so palpable here; it makes me feel like a teenager again. Beyond the salacious vexation in this work, mystery and intrigue are par for the course in Magritte’s repertoire. He loved to take the mundane things of everyday life and turn them into thought provoking melon scratchers, which are also beautiful paintings.

So what is going on in this piece? Well, it is likely that love was a touchy subject for Magritte. When he was only fourteen, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in a local river. Upon retrieving her lifeless body, her wet nightgown was wrapped around her face, disguising the mother he once loved. Even though he says​ it didn't, such strong imagery likely influenced Magritte’s fascination with obscuring faces and challenging this notion of love,

And challenge he did. This is not the only painting of emotional tension eating away at us. In fact, this work is part of a small series of mysterious lovers that Magritte made in the late 1920’s, all of which explore this notion of being intimate yet isolated at the same time. Makes you wonder what his love life was like! A similar painting with the same title hangs at the National Gallery of Australia, if you ever find yourself feeling lonely down unda.