The Empire of Light

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The Empire of Light (French: L'Empire des lumières) is a series of paintings René Magritte covered more than a dozen times from 1947 to 1965.[1] They depict the paradoxical image of a nighttime street, lit only by a single street light, beneath a daytime sky.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4][5] It also inspired the artwork for the cover of Jackson Browne's 1974 album Late for the Sky.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Kantrowitz, Jonathan (25 November 2017). "Art History News: René Magritte: The Fifth Season". Art History News. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  2. ^ "The Empire of Lights also known as L'Empire des Lumieres". Aaron Art Prints. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  3. ^ Federico Zeri, Un velo di silenzio, Milano, 1999, pp. 229-230
  4. ^ "25 Fascinating Facts About The Exorcist". Listverse. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  5. ^ "20 Fun Facts About The Exorcist On Its 40th Birthday". Mental Floss. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2014.

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