Empire of Light c1953 by Rene Magritte | Oil Painting Reproduction
58 cm
Empire of Light c1953
Artist: Rene Magritte
Size: 75 x 58 cm (29.5 x 22.8")
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Selected size: 75 x 58 cm (29.5 x 22.8")

Rene Magritte Empire of Light

The Empire of Light (known in French as L'Empire des Lumières) forms part of a series of paintings by René Magritte. Consisting of twenty-seven images, they depict a nocturnal domestic landscape set against a bright blue sunlit sky.

When was Empire of Light painted?

Painted between 1939 and 1967, the Empire of Light paintings are true surrealist masterpieces. Consisting of seventeen oil paintings on canvas and ten gouache compositions on paper, the works weren’t originally intended as a “formal” series.

Created in 1954, this specific painting hangs in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels.

In a 1956 interview, Magritte described the painting as “a nighttime landscape and a sky such as we see during the day”. He further elaborated on the poetic power of art and his personal interest in night and day.

What does René Magritte’s Empire of Light symbolize?

It’s unclear exactly what René Magritte’s Empire of Light symbolizes. Despite this, there are many theories. We do know it depicts the simultaneous experience of night and day, light and dark. This aspect of unexpected juxtaposition was characteristic of surrealism as a philosophical and artistic movement.

Symbolism (and René Magritte artworks as a whole) explored the unnerving and illogical sides of our conscious and unconscious minds. The movement aimed to resolve apparent contradictions of dream and reality into a greater reality – or surreality.

Many Art Historians believe Magritte used the nocturnal artworks of John Atkinson Grimshaw (a British, Victorian painter) and William Degouve de Nuncques (a Belgian Symbolist painter) as inspiration. In addition, Magritte famously loved the landscape art of Caspar David Friedrich.

The Dada artist Max Ernst (particularly his surrealist frottage paintings such as Forest and Sun) is another possible inspiration. Salvador Dali’s Shades of Night Descending (1931) also forms another interesting parallel.

Created after the famous René Magritte Son of Man painting (1946), Empire of Light continued the artist's central preconceptions. Speaking of the artwork, he described the way everything we view “hides another thing”. He described the internal sense of conflict “between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present”.

In a comparable manner, Empire of Light also foregrounds contradiction. It pits the dark, nocturnal street scene against the pastel blue sky with fluffy cumulus clouds. Sunlight and clarity fight with their opposites of darkness, unease and confusion.

The paradoxical nature of the painting creates an unsettling atmosphere. It makes the still darkness at the bottom of the canvas even more troubling than normal.

Despite the bizarre subject matter, the painting demonstrates Magritte’s characteristic highly precise technique.

Where is the Empire of Light painting?

Originally displayed at the 1954 Venice Biennale (a distinguished biannual art exhibition), Magritte’s paintings attracted substantial interest from collectors.

To meet increased demand for his art, Magritte produced multiple versions on the Empire of Light theme. He continued exploring the theme of night and day for the rest of his artistic career.

Rene Magritte Empire of Light paintings now hang in museums all over the world. This includes the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice) and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (located in Belgium). The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Magritte Museum in Belgium also hold René Magritte Empire of Light artworks.

Magritte, Rene

Find out about Rene Magritte oil paintings or reproductions.

Paintings by Rene Magritte are well-known and iconic. He was a 20th century Belgian surrealist artist, famous for his many thought provoking images and especially for his Son of Man painting, created in 1964, showing an image of a man in an overcoat with a bowler hat, but with the face obscured by an apple. Son of Man was used in the remake of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair. Magritte trained in Brussels and his first paintings were Impressionist in style. He married and moved to Paris where he became friends with Andre Breton, and began to explore his Surrealist themes. He worked briefly in London, but returned to Brussels to open an advertising agency with his brother, as he could not support himself financially from the sale of his paintings. In the late 1960’s his works were universally admired and were used in popular culture by musicians for album covers. Rene Magritte's paintings are known to have influenced Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. His Empire of Light from 1954 is held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

If you are interested in Rene Magritte’s work, see the range of canvas, oil paintings or reproductions.

- https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/artist/rene-magritte/
- https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/oil-painting/1087086603/the-son-of-man-by-rene-magritte/
- https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/oil-painting/1493705704/empire-of-light-c1953-by-rene-magritte/
- https://www.reproduction-gallery.com/movement/surrealism/

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Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.

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Notes About Your Painting

Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.

Why settle for a poster or paper art print when you can own a real oil painting on canvas? This is a hand painted oil painting reproduction of a masterpiece, by a talented artist no electronic transfer methods are employed.

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