The Banquet by the famous Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte is one of those paintings which capture and retain the eye and attention of the observer in the first glance itself! This is particularly because of the bright red circle in the center of the painting in addition to other surreal aspects in the painting. Created using oil on canvas in 1958, the landscape painting has a surrealistic feel to it.
On observing the painting closely one would see a sturdy stone wall and a stone vase in the foreground. There is a line of trees just behind the wall and these are sharper and accurately rendered. Further ahead in the background is a group of trees which are less sharp as the focus is not on these. What’s surreal about the painting is the deep mahogany-red shade of the sky, apart from the red circle in the middle of course. This red circle jerks the concentration away and gives a unique touch to the painting which would otherwise have been a regular landscape painting with red sky. There is also light mist in the field.
Magritte is best known for his thought-provoking as well as highly witty paintings and this painting certainly is a good example. Hailing from Belgium, the artist had a goal for his creations, which was to challenge the perceptions of reality of the observer. Of course, human perceptions are preconditioned, and Magritte loved to force the observers to think outside the box when they look at his paintings. Also, his paintings bring out a sense of hypersensitivity in the viewers with regard to the surroundings.
The surrealism style of painting of Magritte is not automatic like other popular artists (for instance, Joan Miro). On the contrary, the style is more representational. Ordinary objects, such as a red circle in The Banquet, is used in unfamiliar spaces in order to set a theme and create poetic imagery. He describes his creations as ‘single poetically disciplined images’ wherein the subject as well as all the other aspects blend together beautifully and in a way wherein the real aspect is effaced. Thus, his paintings are always a refreshing change from the usual paintings and they rightfully deserve the massive amount of appreciation that they garner.