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The objects in this painting appear to be a metal sheet with bells, a paper cut-out and two balusters (Magritte referred to similar objects in his paintings as bilboquets, a French stick and ball game). Their enlargement and conjunction with the landscape creates a feeling of incongruity recalling the experience of dreams. In titling this work The Annunciation, Magritte may have been alluding ironically to the hostility towards Catholicism shown by the French Surrealists. But the title also suggests that something is about to happen, an expectation that is central to the eerie quality of this strange landscape.

October 2012