Daffy and Bugs as American Gothic, too.
May 12, 2006 4:36 PM   Subscribe

What painting is represented on this tin cover?

many years ago I bought a set of Looney Tunes tins, featuring characters in famous paintings (Daffy Duck as the Mona Lisa, Wile E. Coyote as Whistler's Mother, etc.)

I have no idea which painting this is supposed to be. Anyone?
posted by Lucinda to Media & Arts (15 answers total)
 
Magritte, The Masterpiece, or the Mysteries of the Horizon.
posted by scody at 4:48 PM on May 12, 2006


(By amusing coincedence, I was just looking at a digital image of that very painting not ten minutes ago -- it's being illustrated in a Magritte catalogue I'm working on.)
posted by scody at 4:51 PM on May 12, 2006


Wow, the Looney Tunes version really doesn't work anything like the Magritte, huh? They shoulda used Daffy and Sylvester instead of Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam.
posted by furiousthought at 5:08 PM on May 12, 2006


Groovy! Thanks. (And you're right, it doesn't look much like the original at all)
posted by Lucinda at 5:22 PM on May 12, 2006


yeah, I had to look twice to realize it -- the bowler hats and three crescent moons are the telling details, but it's odd how totally different the colors and composition are otherwise.
posted by scody at 5:25 PM on May 12, 2006


Anyone want to give me a clue about "The Son of Man, 1964" by the same person?
posted by 517 at 5:29 PM on May 12, 2006


What do you mean by "give me a clue"?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:43 PM on May 12, 2006


What's going on with the apple in the face thing?
posted by 517 at 6:04 PM on May 12, 2006


The Son of Man combines two of Magritte's most common motifs of his work from the 1950s-60s -- the green apple and the anonymous bowler-hatted man, both of which show up in literally dozens and dozens of his paintings. (Magritte's apple was probably the inspiration for the Beatles' Apple logo -- I believe Paul McCartney collected Magritte in the '60s -- and the nearly ubiquitous bowler-hatted man was actually an autobiographical nod to Magritte himself, who frequently wore a bowler hat. The other recurring motif that Magritte is probably even more closely associated with is the pipe.)

As for the title, Magritte (as befits a good surrealist -- though his relationship with the formal surrealist movement is too complicated to go into, really) often chose titles that had little or nothing to do with the subject of his paintings, so that any connection between the two would depend entirely on associations that each individual viewer would make.

In other words, nothing's "going on with the apple in the face" any more (or any less) than anything that goes on in any Magritte painting. Or, to put it another way, what's going on is whatever you think is going on. His work (and he was insanely productive, producing literally thousands of paintings, gouaches, and drawings in his lifetime) is filled with countless mysterious, enigmatic combinations of words, symbols, and images.
posted by scody at 6:11 PM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


scody writes "In other words, nothing's 'going on with the apple in the face' any more (or any less) than anything that goes on in any Magritte painting. Or, to put it another way, what's going on is whatever you think is going on"

For what it's worth, though, there is a famous Magritte quote about this painting, and he was startlingly straightforward about it:

Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden...
posted by mr_roboto at 6:15 PM on May 12, 2006


mr_roboto, I agree that that's a great quote - and so classically Magritte, because while on one hand he is being direct ("we always want to see what is hidden by what we see" -- true!), on the other hand he's not really explaining anything at all -- because, after all, what's wanting to see what is hidden got to do with A) an apple obscuring a man's face, and B) the son of man? That's where the answer hinges solely (in my view) on the viewer's perspective, which is of course based on a unique set of personal associations, memories, experiences, etc. (I wish I wasn't away from my office right now -- there's another Magritte quote I was reading just the other day in which he talks about that.)
posted by scody at 6:26 PM on May 12, 2006


Well, it's never a great idea to put a lot of stock into what an artist says about his work anyway, especially a (sort of) surrealist. They're liars, and mostly insane.

I kid because I love.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:33 PM on May 12, 2006


and yet so much art has been reduced to the artist's statement of intent and other documentation. Sad, really.
posted by mikel at 8:16 PM on May 12, 2006


Sweet, thanks.
posted by 517 at 11:19 PM on May 12, 2006


Magritte [...] often chose titles that had little or nothing to do with the subject

Better than that, I read somewhere that he'd have a party when he'd completed a few paintings and his guests would compete to think up the best title.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:39 AM on May 13, 2006


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