The Flavour of Tears
Oil on canvas
59.4 x 49.5 cm
Surrealist paintings stir the imagination by subverting our expectations and transgressing boundaries.
To this beguiling mixture Magritte adds a disturbing reality that we know from our dreams. Here, a totem-like bird assumes the form of a tobacco leaf. The birdleaf is consumed by a caterpillar that it would normally eat and the strange hybrid grows in front of a curtain which blurs landscape and interior. The title adds another provocative element. There are no tears, and we cannot taste a painting, but perhaps we should weep for a bird of peace that disintegrates before us.
Purchased 1983 (No. 83.1)
Image © The Barber Institute of Fine Arts / ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016