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  • Portrait of an Artist, Vol. 11 - Rene Magritte [VHS]
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Portrait of an Artist, Vol. 11 - Rene Magritte [VHS]

2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rene Magritte
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Homevision
  • VHS Release Date: June 13, 2000
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780019814
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,111 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Magritte hardly fits the temperamental artist stereotype. He lived a quiet life, finding inspiration in his everyday surroundings. This portrait takes viewers to his house in a small Belgian town and to other places that fired the artist's imagination--Brussels, Paris, the casino, the racecourse--all familiar scenes, which he managed to portray as new and strange. Archival film featuring conversations with Magritte helps illuminate the work of this unique Surrealist.


René Magritte was the leader of the Belgian surrealists, and his influence as a painter on contemporary art continues to be profound. This 50-minute program, completed in 1978, over 10 years after his death, gives a very poetic and succinct description of Magritte's life and work. While his early life was filled with many changes in residence in Belgium, as well as tragedy (his mother drowned herself in the river by their home), the artist Magritte chose a life that was the very opposite of bohemian. He painted in his dining room, disliked traveling, and refused to dress like an artist. The women in his paintings are all likenesses of his wife, Georgette. He insisted on a deadpan style of painting to get away from affectation, as he was striving to discover an unfamiliar poetry in everyday things. In one of his most influential paintings--the depiction of a pipe surmounted with the words in French for "this is not a pipe"--Magritte was pointing out that a painting can not be confused with the actual object. Rather long segments of this program are devoted to contemporary footage dealing with subjects that influenced him, such as horse racing, and also included are home movies of comedic actions by Magritte himself. This program does justice to the greatness of the artist and would be of interest to any art lover. --Anne Barclay Morgan

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MissParker on May 18, 2000
I found this now 22 year-old video hiding in the dusty section marked "Art" at my small public library. I was already a passionate follower of the Surrealist movement, its originators and devotees, but I was primarily focused on the literary aspect because most of the art seemed far too randomly abstract for my tastes. That was before I discovered Rene Magritte.

Due to the limitless, boundless component of the subject of surrealism, this video seems so undated as to have been committed to tape yesterday. Background on Magritte's life is given: details of his childhood, the suicide of his mother, his marriage to his childhood sweetheart, his initial meeting of and subsequent involvement with the Paris Surrealists of the 1920s.... All this fascinating information is painted like a backdrop of those familiar clouds of his, illogically and dreamily sprinkled with apples, bowler hats, orbs, and incomprehensibly suspended objects.

The thing I appreciate so much about Magritte is the obvious classical training he has, and how he marries it in such an absurd and perfect manner to the metaphysical dimension of surrealist art.

I feared this video was long out of print; I am so thankful that I now have the opportunity to own a copy. This documentary truly gave me chills; it speaks to a part of the mind that - in my opinion - most people sadly never awaken.
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Excellent overview of Magritte's work. There are times that they scroll through the paintings too quickly, but they pack a lot of his paintings into this video.
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