Happy Birthday Rene Magritte!! Born in Belgium in 1898, Magritte was a well-known Surrealist painter. His father was a tailor, his mother a milliner, whose instability lead her to suicide when Magritte was just 13. Beginning as an Impressionist, Magritte first switched to Futurism for a time, and then exhibited his initial Surrealist painting in 1927. Uniting with Andre Breton, the two explored their own realities through Surrealism. Magritte’s aim was to challenge the viewer to look closely and solve the riddle he put forth. Commonplace objects are juxtaposed with fantastical, hallucinatory realities: "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 either, it is unknowable." The easel reiterating reality is a recurrent theme in his work, as viewed in The Human Condition, below.