Painted in 1953, no one would mistake The Seducer for an ordinary landscape. The painting depicts a lone ship floating on a deep blue sea with gentle waves rippling around it. The artist, Rene Magritte, sets the ship against his favourite motif, the cumulus clouds in a blue sky. The ship is suspended in a dream-like stance: no clear indication of time, place or the weather. The sea vessel is in the middle of nowhere, and only the blue skies with its clouds are in sight.
Rene Magritte's experience with the sea
That The Seducer bears influences of Rene's experience with the sea cannot be gainsaid. The ship in the middle of nowhere, completely merging with the waters of the sea and the blue sky with white clouds reeks of a dream-like adventure. The dreamlike nature arises from the fact that Magritte had very little experience with the sea. He had grown up at the dead centre of Belgium in a small town southwest of Brussels, miles away from any port. If he ever felt the call of the sea, then it most likely was from within him.
The odd ship
Despite having little experience with the sea, the artist has deliberately done something unusual to the ship: he has portrayed the shape of the ship as an extension of the water. It seems illogical, but it is the stuff that defines surrealism. The effect on the image is that of a cut and paste job which is in tandem with the Cubist collage that influences the surrealist school of thought.
The strange name
The painting's title, The Seducer, is rather odd as there seems to be nothing seductive about the ship in the middle of nowhere. However, the art of seduction borders on fantasy, pleasure and a sense of magic. However, the title could be appropriate because the ship is completely at liberty to sail in any direction. It, therefore, seems to be appealing – or seducing – people to come aboard and sail off for adventure.
The Seducer has set sail in the blue waters, and the weather seems perfect for the adventurous. Rene Magritte manages to accomplish the impossible in one simple painting: drawing the attention of the audience to that which is seemingly mundane by infusing it with a sense of magical wonder.