This variant of one of Magritte’s most captivating landscapes invites viewers to ponder what appears to be a sunset with a stand of fastidiously rendered trees silhouetted against the evening sky. However, as the artist described in a letter, the “red sun is visible on the mass of the trees hiding it.” While this effect is disorienting, the painting will unfailingly cast a spell on viewers who will not soon forget the experience of pictorial conventions unsettled and the workings of their own minds exposed. When speaking about the painting The Son of a Man, which featured an apple blocking the face of a bowler-hatted man, Magritte said, “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” Serving up the landscape and the setting sun as an impossible simultaneity, Le Banquet offers a Surrealist feast for the senses and nurtures the mind as well.
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