"The Human Condition I" painting analysis

Essay by jack_blackHigh School, 12th grade August 2006

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The drastic use of color has been used to depict the mood of the subject, with greens and intense reds contributing In the "Human Condition I," surrealism is employed to pit reality against its representation to see how closely they match up. The painting of a seaside landscape is placed before the door that opens up onto the landscape and the two appear to line up perfectly, except for the nagging suspicion that the so-called reality against which we measure the painted representation is nothing but a representation itself.

Rene employs a lucid dream technique by using an almost optical illusion style that on the surface seems innocent enough, but that covertly undermines the reality we take for granted. Without interfering with the shape of things, he interferes with the system of things. He is precisionist in technique, using a seemingly straightforward, descriptive style, but his content is always a disturbing riddle.

Precision of detail and highly realistic images end up undermining the authority and certainty of the external world, and causes fear and apprehension in the viewer.

We see the world as being outside ourselves, although it is only a mental representation of it that we experience inside ourselves. Magritte pits the rational, reasoning mind against the imaginative and fantastic with no way to resolve the conflict. Reason always tries to make things determinate, to pin them down definitively. His pictures resemble dreams of reason with a frightening precision that ends up backfiring, throwing reason itself, and reality, into question. Quite simply, he creates picture puzzles that cannot be solved or destroyed by reason alone.

A dark ball in the foreground contrasts in color with the light seascape background and painting, and creates a visual discord in a composition. It bring the outside forward in the design, and...