The Empire of Light
The Empire of Light (French: L'Empire des lumières) is a series of three oil on canvas paintings by René Magritte painted between 1949 and 1954. They depict the paradoxical image of a nighttime street, lit only by a single street light, beneath a daytime sky. In this case the artist was inspired by the works of John Atkinson Grimshaw, an English painter from the Victorian era, who had delighted in his time to paint urban views at sunset.
The paintings inspired a scene in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist, which was used on the film's posters and home video releases, in which the character Father Merrin stands in front of the MacNeil family's house. It also inspired the artwork for the cover of Jackson Browne's 1974 album Late for the Sky.
John Atkinson Grimshaw, Boar Lane, Leeds, 1880s
The Empire of Light in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Empire of Light in the Museum of Modern Art
The Empire of Light in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
- "The Empire of Lights also known as L'Empire des Lumieres". Aaron Art Prints. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- Federico Zeri, Un velo di silenzio, Milano, 1999, pp. 229-230
- "25 Fascinating Facts About The Exorcist". Listverse. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "20 Fun Facts About The Exorcist On Its 40th Birthday". Mental Floss. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
- Guggenheim website catalog entry
- Museum of Modern Art website catalog entry
- Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium website catalog entry
- An interactive soundscape (MusIcon) of the painting.
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