René MagritteThe Reckless Sleeper 1928

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Artwork details

Artist
René Magritte (1898‑1967)
Title
The Reckless Sleeper
Le Dormeur téméraire
Date 1928
MediumOil paint on canvas
Dimensionssupport: 1160 x 810 x 20 mm frame:1380 x 1027 x 100 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1969
Reference
T01122
Not on display

Display caption

A figure sleeps in a wooden alcove above a dark cloudy sky. The way into this space is barred by a tablet embedded with everyday objects, which are displayed as in a children’s book. These objects are presented as if dreamed by the sleeper. As Magritte knew, some or all of them could also be read as Freudian symbols. This combination of different possible interpretations adds to the painting’s suggestion of unease and disorientation. It was painted when Magritte was closest to the French Surrealist group, having moved temporarily to Paris from Brussels.

December 2005

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