Beginning a new series where we take a look at modern art’s impact on pop culture at large. 


“It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world. Art for me is not an end in itself, but a means of evoking that mystery. ” — René Magritte on putting seemingly unrelated objects together in juxtaposition.

Mystery. It is impossible to appreciate a Rene Magritte painting without considering this quality. This quality, of course, was the province of the surrealists – to see the world in different perspectives. Belgian painter Magritte (1898 – 1967) managed to combine classical works with the surrealist idiom to create something unique and distinct. Recording artists have a certain affinity with the works of Margritte as evidenced by the artist’s powerful influence on numerous album covers over the years.

Son of Man, 1964

The man in the bowler hat is a vivid icon in many of Magritte’s paintings.

The man in the bowler hat inspired the back cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here LP (above).

The Listening Room, 1952

This incongruous image of a gigantic apple sitting in the middle of a room provided suitable inspiration for Jeff Beck Group’s Beck-Ola LP cover (below).


The Blank Signature, 1967

Magritte’s striking depiction of the rider blending into the woods was ‘borrowed’ by Styx for its Grand Illusion album cover (see below).

The Lovers, 1928

This disturbing painting of two shrouded lovers kissing is drawn from Magritte’s tragic childhood when he discovered his mother’s dead body in the lake, her head covered by her night dress like a shroud. Welsh post-hardcore outfit Funeral for a Friend took this concept for the cover of its debut album, Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation (see below).

The genius may be long gone but his legacy and influence certainly lives on. Find out more about Rene Magritte at Wiki.

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