The portrait has always been one of the most developed genres by artists of all times and all styles, from antiquity to contemporary art, practically all artists have made a portrait throughout their career. Perhaps the true portraits, those that have been cataloged by experts as good, are not only paintings that represent the model physically, but rather the painter has known how to represent the psychological facet of the model, that beyond that makes each person unique.
In this sense, the work we are analyzing here represents a new dimension, The Forbidden Reproduction of Magritte moves away from the traditional portrait denying us the most important part of it, the face. René François Ghislain Magritte was born in 1898 and died in Brussels in 1967; He is considered one of the greatest exponents of surrealist aesthetics, but the artist was also able to endow his canvases with a very particular style, with a very strong conceptual charge that makes the viewer reflect while questioning the parameters of art and even more than traditional logic.
This time we are faced with an oil on canvas in a vertical format and small dimensions – it is barely eighty-two centimeters high and only sixty-five centimeters wide – the work is exhibited at the Boijmans Van Rotterdam Beuningen. on the canvaswe find a man who, due to his complexion, we guess or believe to be middle-aged, appears in a suit and well groomed, with his hair slicked back. The model appears looking at himself in the mirror however, to our own surprise,the mirror does not give us back theface of the viewer but instead we find him back again; its reproduction has been prohibited.
When we look more closely at the canvas we can see how, next to the man, a book appears on the shelf whose reflection does appear inverted, evidencing once again the impossibility of the man's reflection. At this point we can point out how the artist, influenced by the historical events in which Europe was submerged (the rise of totalitarianism and the Second World War), denies the portrait of man in favor of collectivization, a desperate cry in which this particular man could be any other.
Magritte's artistic ability plays a double role by presenting us with a very correct aesthetically formal work: with the light that comes from an external focus, a successful perspective… while combining it with the surrealism of impossible images that they escape from any logical matrix.