Depicting the leaning tower of Pisa 'supported' by a feather, Souvenir de voyage is a remarkable example of the way in which Magritte's art appropriates images from popular culture, and turns them into fantastic compositions. By adding the feather as a support for the famously unstable building, the artist seeks to subvert the laws of physics, as well as to question the viewer's perception of an image so deeply rooted in common culture.
The idea of the leaning tower of Pisa originated in a drawing of 1949 and a gouache of 1952, both depicting the building leaning against an oversized upright spoon. The image of the tower 'supported' by a feather first appeared in an oil of 1953, with a more literal title La Nuit de Pise. The title Magritte chose for the present work, that first appeared in a 1926 oil, was conceivably inspired by J.A. Gobineau's book Souvenirs de voyage, which Magritte had in his library.
Original artwork provenance: Private collection
All images: © 2012 C. Herscovici, Brussels / ADAGP, Paris
|Dimensions||60 x 40 cm|