René Magritte
The Reckless Sleeper 1928

Artwork details

René Magritte 1898–1967
The Reckless Sleeper
Le Dormeur téméraire
Date 1928
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1160 x 810 x 20 mm
frame:1380 x 1027 x 100 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1969
Not on display

Display caption

A figure sleeps in a wooden alcove above a dark cloudy sky. The way into this space is barred by a tablet embedded with everyday objects, which are displayed as in a children’s book. These objects are presented as if dreamed by the sleeper. As Magritte knew, some or all of them could also be read as Freudian symbols. This combination of different possible interpretations adds to the painting’s suggestion of unease and disorientation. It was painted when Magritte was closest to the French Surrealist group, having moved temporarily to Paris from Brussels.

December 2005