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Magritte: The Silence of the World

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René Magritte (1898-1967) was 12 when his mother, an apparent suicide, was dragged from the river near their home in Chatelet, Belgium. His memory — real or imagined — of her naked body, her nightdress drawn up over her face, reappears, according to David Sylvester’s text, in the hidden or cloaked heads and truncated nudes of his art. In less obvious form it also recurs in Magritte’s flight from treacherous reality into the ironies of surrealism. David Sylvester’s Magritte: The Silence of the World, a splendid volume on the life and art of everyone’s favorite surrealist, is being published in conjunction with the major exhibition of his work at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. A

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