Although the painting is entitled Clear Ideas, upon first glance it would appear that the ideas within the painting are far from clear.
This is not uncommon for surrealist painters and it is most certainly not uncommon for Magritte. Magritte once said that his painting did not conceal anything and when asked what the meanings behind his paintings were, he answered by saying that they meant nothing.
With an answer like this, one may argue Magritte wanted the world to know that the meaning is in the head of the one perceiving the painting.
However, if this is the case, it is arguable that Magritte was making comprehending his paintings even more difficult as many people would want a solid answer or a clear idea as to what the meanings behind his paintings were.
The painting depicts a rather clear looking sky with one large cloud and a reasonably calm sea. Between the sky and the sea floats a very large rock.
Quite often the sky is a symbol for clearness. When one looks up to the sky and thinks, they can free their head more easily of any troubles.
The person can have clear ideas just as the name's painting suggests. However, how can one do so when there is a large rock in the way? Rocks are often a symbol of blockage throughout art and literature.
Magritte uses this symbolism to strengthen the irony of his piece. It leaves the audience wondering what kind of message Magritte was portraying and why? It is questionable as to whether Magritte was displaying his own barriers and issues within his life, or something within society.
The piece is extremely captivating and allows the audience to get thoroughly involved with surrealist artwork and the themes they entail.