René Magritte


Homesickness, 1940, oil on canvas, Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels.

Homesickness depicts a man looking out over what appears to be a bridge railing while a lion sits behind him. The man is looking out over the railing while the lion is intently looking in the opposite direction. The sky depicted in Homesickness is a golden brown. The brown color palette used in this artwork and the position of the man/angel gives the painting a feeling of melancholy.

Who is the title Homesickness applying to? The lion or the man or both? The natural place for a lion is in the wild, not a city, and he is the “King of the Jungle”. The man has wings, a clear allusion to his maybe impracticable desire to fly somewhere. They are both homesick for where they came from.

Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.

– Marcel Proust