The Son of Man is amongst the most recognisable Surrealist oil paintings and was created by Rene Magritte in the 1960s, shortly before his death. This article discusses The Son of Man painting in full and also touches on the rest of Chez Rene which featured other notable art works.
Son of Man features a suited man with an apple hovering in front of his face. It is actually a self-portrait of the painter and underlines his close involvement with the surrealists, who included Salvador Dali amongst their ranks and many other forward-thinking, innovative artists. Surrealists rely heavily on imagination and tend to incorporate high levels of symbolism within their paintings, which this painting is of course a great example of.
The surrealists paintings such as Son of Man came later in the career of Magritte who initially preferred a more mainstream style of impressionism which began to change after receiving tutoring for the first time as a young man. It was around then that he also began to get more ideas for his work as well as just being technically more advanced. It was then that Rene would go for more unique ideas within his work and also he now placed a greater importance on the intentions behind a painting, rather than just the look of the finished work.
There were several other variations on a theme, with the artist using a bird instead of an apple for one painting, as well as a woman in another similar work to The Son of Man. A few years after the original was completed by Magritte, Norman Rockwell produced his very own version. Rockwell replaced the green apple with a red one and added his own artistic influences, whilst still paying a great compliment to Magritte and the original painting.
Besides Son of Man, Rene Magritte also produced many other classic oil paintings in his original surrealist style, including The Treachery of Images, On the Threshold of Liberty, The Empty Mask, The Difficult Crossing, The Human Condition, Not to be Reproduced, Time Transfixed and Elective Affinities.
We can conclude that Rene Magritte is amongst the most important surrealist artists of all time and certainly the best known painter to have come from Belgium. There is a large depth to his career and a long list of classic paintings, but The Son of Man is certainly the most important and spearheads his career whenever there are any exhibitions of his work.