The Treachery of Images

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Treachery of Images
Artist René Magritte
Year 1928–29 (1928–29)
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 63.5 cm × 93.98 cm (25 in × 37 in)
Location Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California[1]

The Treachery of Images (French: La Trahison des images [la tʁaizɔ̃ dez imaʒ], 1928–29, sometimes translated as The Treason of Images) also known as This Is Not a Pipe[2] and The Wind and the Song,[3] is a painting by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte.


The picture shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte painted, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe.", French for "This is not a pipe."

The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe', I'd have been lying!

— René Magritte[4]


Magritte painted The Treachery of Images when he was 30 years old. It is currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.[5] The theme of pipes with the text "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" is extended in Les Mots et Les Images,[6] La Clé des Songes,[7] Ceci n'est pas une pipe (L'air et la chanson),[8] The Tune and Also the Words,[9] Ceci n’est pas une pomme,[10] and Les Deux Mystères.[11]

The painting is sometimes given as an example of meta message conveyed by paralanguage.[12] Compare with Korzybski's "The word is not the thing" and "The map is not the territory" as well as Diderot's Ceci n'est pas un conte (This is not a story).

See also[edit]

External video
Magritte's The Treachery of Images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe), Smarthistory[13]
René Magritte considers language and perception, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art[14]


  1. ^ La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), 1929, Painting, Oil on canvas. Purchased with funds provided by the Mr. and Mrs. William Preston Harrison Collection (78.7). On public view: Ahmanson Building 2nd Floor.
  2. ^ Foucault, Michel (2008). This is Not a Pipe (PDF). James Harkness (Editor, Translator), René Magritte (Illustrator) (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23694-3.
  3. ^ Bowman, Russell (2014). "Words and Images: A Persistent Paradox". Art Journal. 45 (4): 335. doi:10.1080/00043249.1985.10792322. JSTOR 776809.
  4. ^ Torczyner, Harry. Magritte: Ideas and Images. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-8109-1300-4.
  5. ^ "The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe)". LACMA Collections. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  6. ^ "René Magritte - Les mots et les images". The Ideophone. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  7. ^ "René Magritte - La Clé des Songes". Artnet. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  8. ^ "René Magritte - Ceci n'est pas une pipe (L'air et le chanson)". Artnet. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  9. ^ "René Magritte - L'air et le chanson". Art Institute Chicago. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  10. ^ "René Magritte - Ceci n'est pas une pomme" (PDF). Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  11. ^ "René Magritte - The Two Mysteries". Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  12. ^ Haiman, John (2004). "Review of "Languages within language: An evolutive approach" by Ivan Fonagy". Studies in Language. 28: 246. doi:10.1075/sl.28.1.14hai.
  13. ^ "Magritte's The Treachery of Images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe)". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  14. ^ "René Magritte considers language and perception". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved March 16, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]