“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” ~René Magritte

René Magritte (pronunciation) was a Belgian artist who played a significant role in developing the Surrealism movement. His work often features ordinary objects in unusual situations, with a strong emphasis on humor and wordplay. 

Paysage de Baucis

Magritte was born in Lessines, Belgium (pronunciation), on November 21, 1898. Sadly, his mother died when he was only 13 years old, and the loss deeply affected him, especially in his later works, which would deal with themes of death and loss. 

L’Heureux donateur

In 1916, René began his artistic study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts (pronunciation) in Brussels. He was inspired by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and their Cubist style. However, his first exposure to the concept of Surrealism came when he met the artists André Breton and Paul Éluard, and in 1925 he joined the Surrealist group.


Magritte’s paintings often featured realistic objects that would be placed in bizarre or incongruous settings. His first Surrealist painting, “The Treachery of Images,” was completed in 1928. The work features a smoking pipe with the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”) written beneath it, making it a direct challenge to the viewer’s assumptions about what they are seeing.

The Beautiful World

In 1930, he had a major exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris, which helped to solidify his reputation as one of the leading Surrealist artists. Throughout the 1930’s, Magritte continued to develop his unique approach to Surrealism, incorporating elements of humor and wordplay, as seen in works like “The Empire of Lights” (1954), in which the daytime sky is shown at night.

The Empire of Light

In 1940, he moved to Brussels to escape the Nazi occupation of France. He remained in Brussels for the rest of his life, except for a brief period in 1966 when he moved to London.

The False Mirror

He married Georgette Berger in 1922, and the couple had one son, Paul. His family would often appear in his paintings, as seen in works like “The Family of Men” (1947), which features Magritte’s wife and son surrounded by a group of faceless men.

The Large Family

Sadly, Magritte died of pancreatic cancer in 1967. But throughout his career, Magritte continued to experiment with perspective and image, often playing with the idea of reality and perception. His work has been widely influential and was detrimental to the Surrealism movement. 


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For more project ideas, check out these Renee Magritte-inspired art projects here:

Easy Magritte Art Project for Kids and Magritte Coloring Page by Art Projects for Kids

Sponge Painting For Kids: Inspired By René Magritte by Woo Jr

René Magritte Project by The Elements of Art