Norfolk Museums Collections

La Condition Humaine (painting)

Description:

In this painting we look out through the mouth of a cave across a steep mountainous valley. In the centre of the painting, standing on an easel, is a painted canvas representing a castle. We are led to believe, but can never know for certain, that the painted castle conceals a real castle behind. René Magritte's work often explores the limits of knowledge and the power of illusion. Perhaps he chose the location of the cave because it makes reference to Plato's famous Parable of the Cave, itself a critique of human knowledge and understanding. The title of the painting is almost certainly a reference to Rousseau's statement: 'Our true study is that of the human condition.'

Artist / maker:

Magritte, Rene

Materials:

canvas (support)

Inscription:

Magritte LA / CONDITION / HUMAINE / MAGRITTE / 1935

Measurements:

54 (height) 73 (width)

Accession number:

NWHCM : 1995.88.2

On display at:

Not currently on public display

Subjects:

contemporary | surrealist

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