|Courtesy of www.ReneMagritte.org|
One image which appears in many of Magritte's paintings is that of his mother. He saw her fished from the river Sambre at the age of fourteen, she had committed suicide. The body was found naked apart from a nightgown which obscured only the face as it was tangled around her.
One of the best examples of Magritte's life in his work is in The Rape Magritte's mother was drowned when he was very young. She was discovered with her face veiled by her gown with her naked body showing. The Rape, therefore has three main attributes:
1. The woman's facial features are replaced by the torso and pelvis of a naked woman is suggestive firstly of the way males see the woman. The idea is to create a sexual image out of the woman's face, the first thing one would usually see. This is also indicated by the name of the piece 'The Rape'.
2. Secondly, it is an obvious reference to his mothers death and the way in which she died, with her face covered and her body naked.
3. Thirdly, a different idea is that one might notice that the neck and head are quite flat, almost phallic. The hair also has an unnatural appearance, perhaps that of pubic hair. This is the most striking vision and is perhaps in line with the way Magritte suggested he wanted to frighten with his paintings, to provoke. It is the rape in progress, the phallus of the face or torso, penetrating the pubic mound.