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Time Transfixed

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The idea behind Surrealism was to link the dream world with the physical world, making those nightmares of showing up to high school naked a reality.

René Magritte was a Surrealist painter from Belgium who took the trippiness of dreams to the next level. He began his career painting fake marble and wood in homes. This talent to paint such realistic detail came in handy later when joining unusual scenarios with recognizable figures to create dreamlike images such as this one. Magritte liked to put random things together in paintings to make the viewer feel unsure about the world around him in an attempt to liberate our imaginations. And I didn't even know mine was oppressed...

This is one of Magritte's most well known paintings and although the English title is "Time Transfixed" the original French title, "La Durée Poignardée", means something more like "ongoing time stabbed by a dagger," which is not quite as pithy. But Magritte was ultimately unhappy with the translation and perhaps rightfully so--the idea of time being stabbed is way cooler than it simply being transfixed.

There was another frustrating event for Magritte surrounding this painting. Magritte had hoped that the man who bought the painting, Edward James, would hang it at the bottom of the staircase in his home so the train would "stab" guests as they walked to James' ballroom. James spared his friends and hung it, appropriately, over his fireplace.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Time Transfixed

Time Transfixed (La Durée poignardée) is an oil on canvas painting by the Belgian surrealist René Magritte. It is part of the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and is usually on display in the museum's new Modern Wing.[1]

The painting was one of many done for surrealist patron and Magritte supporter Edward James. This was the second painting delivered to James for his London ballroom. The first was the portrait of James, Not to be Reproduced.[2] Time Transfixed was purchased by the Art Institute from James in 1970 when he was raising capital to build his surrealist sculpture garden Las Pozas.[citation needed]

The painting depicts an LMS[citation needed] 4-6-0 Locomotive jutting out of a fireplace, at full steam, in an empty room. Above the mantelpiece is a tall mirror. Only the clock and one candlestick standing on the mantelpiece are reflected in the mirror.[2]

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Time Transfixed.