Digital Reproduction

Made by Sky Ding

I reinterpreted "The Lovers" by Rene Magritte and created a similar piece emphasizing on the fact that people hide their true selves from each others at anytime and anyplace.

Created: September 5th, 2016



Rene Magritte(1898-1967) was a surrealist artist  who played a very important role in the development of pop art, conceptual art, and minimalism. His paintings resolved the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality, showing a world in between the two. Frustrated desires has been a common theme in his works; it had been suspected that his art style reflected on his childhood trauma: at an age of 14, his mother committed suicide by drowning. He witnessed her body being fished from the water while her wet nightgown wrapped around her face.[1] He replied to such interpretation, saying: "My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, 'What does that mean?' It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing, it is unknowable."



Rene Magritte, The Lovers, 1928

I was deeply attracted to the gloomy yet beautiful art style Rene Magritte created in his painting "The Lovers." Upon trying to figure out what he wanted to express, I decided to create my own piece that illustrates my guess. The original oil painting shows a couple kissing with their faces wrapped in white fabric; the surrounding grayish blue and brownish red has a depressing effect on the viewer. Despite the fact that Magritte denied to most interpretations of his paintings, "The Lovers" symbolizes the phenomenon where people cannot open their hearts even to their beloved ones. People get used to protecting themselves by hiding their faces, as facial expressions can't lie about their emotions. 



I modified the original image below of Japanese people rushing to work[2] using Adobe Photoshop. I tried to reproduce the color, tone, and symbolism from "The Lovers." 



I selected the head of the man in "The Lovers" and copied multiple layers to replace the heads in the picture above. I then changed the background into the same blue and red so that I reproduced the gloomy atmosphere. Finally, I applied an oil painting filter on the whole picture to make it look more like a legit art work. Although I wanted to recreate the brushwork, it turned out to be visually different, but I decided to leave it the way it is as shown below.



What I wanted to express is a sad situation not only discovered in the 20th century but also found to became worse in the recent decade. As technology develops, people no longer have to travel for hours just to talk to someone; we have laptops and cell phones that can let us talk to anyone at anytime without having to step outside of our rooms. We appreciate the convenience but this also means that it doesn't require effort for people to meet or to become close to someone. People no longer care or show their true feelings; we hide our faces and our expressions; we only say what we want people to know online, behind our screens. It seems that the closer technology binds people together, the farther our hearts are brought away from each other. 

I think I did a decent job communicating my thoughts as well as combining Magritte's frustrated desires. One thing I think I need to improve is my Photoshop skills, so that next time maybe I can really reproduce the brushwork of Rene Magritte in his painting "The Lovers."

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62-150 Intro to Media Synthesis and Analysis

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I reinterpreted "The Lovers" by Rene Magritte and created a similar piece emphasizing on the fact that people hide their true selves from each others at anytime and anyplace.