The reckless sleeper, by René Magritte

In Le dormeur Téméraire (1928), by Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte, a man sleeps in a wooden cubicle, above a dark cloudy sky. This heavenly space is, however, barred by a structure where a number of objects lie: a bowler hat – a recurrent image in the painter’s work – an apple, a mirror, a tie, a bird and a lighted candle.
Some critics claim that these objects have a psychoanalytic reading. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, contemporary of René Magritte (1898-1967), considered that hats in dreams symbolized genitals, while the bird would represent the penis and mirrors the connection between the conscious and the unconscious. In turn, the apple would represent knowledge and freedom, whereas the candle stood for the search for truth. The work belongs to the Tate Gallery collection in London, founded by British merchant and philanthropist Henry Tate in 1897.

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