Sku: AW9157 Size: 27.5 x 19.75 in.
The image of Shéhérazade (1947, oil on panel) depicts the eyes and lips of a woman’s face, veiled by a curlicue of pearls, implying wealth, exoticism and opulence. This exotic vision appears as a mirage in a dune landscape, foreground of a rippling grey blue water of the North Sea and a blue sky dotted with clouds - reminiscent of Magritte’s work ‘La Malediction’. Although Magritte painted dozens of gouaches and drawings of this theme, an important aspect of this particular piece is the reference to one of the most important inspirations to Rene Magritte’s oeuvre; Giorgio de Chirico's 1914 painting ‘Le chant d'amour’. This work was not just important to Magritte, but can be seen as the work that sparked the surrealist movement - preceding it by ten years. The metaphysical painter de Chirico was an important inspiration to Magritte’s work, who vowed to only ever again paint poetry upon seeing this work. In Shéhérazade we certainly denote an aspect of the metaphysical in this mirage appearance - but also a more outspoken ode, namely; the round ball-like (almost alien) object at Shéhérazade’s feet that frequently appears in the oeuvre of de Chirico. Despite the surreal contexts, the ball - along with other shapes - denotes logic, reason, balance and mathematics.
Magritte first began to paint Shéhérazade when he read the tales of A Thousand and One Nights. These are a series of fables that were once told by the wise and well-read Shéhérazade who used them to distract the angry and murderous Persian King Sharyar from beheading her at dawn, something he did each day to revenge the extramarital affair of his first wife. Riveted by her tales, however, the King prolonged her life each dawn in order to hear the end of each story. After 1001 stories, in love, a kinder man and having bore her three sons, he married Shéhérazade making her Queen of Persia.
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