René Magritte The Reckless Sleeper -- 1928

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This work is made from a plaster copy of the death mask of the French Emperor Napoleon. A death mask is made by placing a mixture of plaster or wax over a person's face once they have died to create a mould. Magritte painted at least five of these casts, each with sky and clouds. The artist’s friend the surrealist poet Paul Nougé suggested an association between death, dreams and the depth of the sky. He commented: ‘a patch of sky traversed by clouds and dreams [can] transfigure the very face of death in a totally unexpected way’.

Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality. His imagery has influenced pop art, minimalist art, and conceptual art.

Today the Belgian artist René Magritte is most popularly known as a Surrealist painter, but he was never fully embraced by the doctrinaire followers of André Breton’s more dominant Surrealism, nor did he accept Surrealist methodology—its emphasis on psychoanalysis and automatism in particular—as dogma. In his text “Surrealism in the Sunshine: Manifesto No.

More from Renee Krokan

This work is made from a plaster copy of the death mask of the French Emperor Napoleon. A death mask is made by placing a mixture of plaster or wax over a person's face once they have died to create a mould. Magritte painted at least five of these casts, each with sky and clouds. The artist’s friend the surrealist poet Paul Nougé suggested an association between death, dreams and the depth of the sky. He commented: ‘a patch of sky traversed by clouds and dreams [can] transfigure the very face of death in a totally unexpected way’.

Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality. His imagery has influenced pop art, minimalist art, and conceptual art.

Today the Belgian artist René Magritte is most popularly known as a Surrealist painter, but he was never fully embraced by the doctrinaire followers of André Breton’s more dominant Surrealism, nor did he accept Surrealist methodology—its emphasis on psychoanalysis and automatism in particular—as dogma. In his text “Surrealism in the Sunshine: Manifesto No.