Sometimes also called 'Memory of a Journey', Memory of a Voyage is a surrealist oil painting by the Belgian artist Rene Magritte. Magritte remains one of the foremost figures in the Surrealist movement in art, and he painted Memory of a Voyage in 1951 or 1952 when he was a mature artist in the final phase of his career.
Memory of a Voyage is notable because it is part of what is often referred to as Magritte's 'Stone Age'. Whilst Magritte's earlier and later paintings are typified by vibrant colours, the paintings of the early 1950s feature plain granite grey hues. For this reason, paintings such as Memory of a Voyage are said to form part of this artist's 'Stone Age'.During the Stone Age, Magritte also began to depict forms that had been petrified - i.e. turned into stone. Coffins are also a key theme of art works from this epoch in Magritte's life. It is no accident that the Stone Age coincided with the post war period; Magritte's art from this period reflects the way in which optimism had been replaced by harsh, cold 'stony' reality, including the reality of death.
Memory of a Voyage depicts a giant apple and a giant pear, placed side by side; both of them are made from cracked, uncompromising looking grey stone. This art work is definitely one that can be categorised as surreal, because it takes familiar, ordinary objects and turns them into something odd and unrecognisable. Though the apple and the pear are everyday objects, their material (gritty stone) and their size (much enlarged beyond their usual proportions) turn them into extraordinary phenomena. Memory of a Voyage can also be read as a new look at a traditional artistic genre: still life. Still life paintings very often feature arrangements of fruit, and apples and pears feature heavily. Memory of a Voyage, however, takes this classic generic arrangement and makes it surreal.