The Son of Man (Magritte)  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

The Son of Man is a 1964 painting by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte.

Magritte painted it as a self-portrait. The painting consists of a man in a suit and a bowler hat standing in front of a small wall, beyond which is the sea and a cloudy sky. The man's face is largely obscured by a hovering green apple.

The name "Son of Man" is believed to have derived from the Abrahamic creation story. The modern businessman is the son of Adam, and the apple represents temptation (with which one is still faced in the modern world).

The Son of Man should not be confused with The Great War on Facades (La Grande Guerre Facades), another Magritte painting featuring similar imagery. Both feature a person standing in front of a wall overlooking the sea. The Great War on Facades, however, features a woman holding an umbrella, her face covered by a flower. The painting should also not be confused with Man in the Bowler Hat, a similar painting where the man's face is obscured by a bird rather than an apple.

About the painting Magritte said,

Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible. Humans hide their secrets too well....

The Son of Man is privately owned.

References in Popular Culture

  • Australian band INXS uses this painting in their video for "Spy of Love" from their third album, Shabooh Shoobah.
  • The painting is used in the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair.
  • The painting is used in the 2004 short film Ryan.
  • According to the Beatles Anthology, the apple in the Apple Records logo was designed to resemble the one in this Magritte painting.
  • In the 2006 film Stranger than Fiction, the protagonist (who is first depicted as a rather soulless IRS auditor) is shown walking to work in a dark suit with a green apple in his mouth. The scene is heavily reminiscent of The Son of Man.
  • Some versions of Morris Gleitzman's Blabber Mouth have a picture of the main character with an apple in her mouth as the front cover, a possible reference to The Son of Man.
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror IV, a painting is seen displaying Bart Simpson with the apple on his face.
  • In The Simpsons episode Lisa's Sax, this painting is being painted by a small child at a preschool recommended for Lisa Simpson
  • In a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin are anchors on Weekend Update, and this picture is used as an amateur sketch of the main suspect in a chain of recent bank robberies.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Son of Man (Magritte)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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