|Courtesy of www.ReneMagritte.org|
In the English inventory of the works in the collection of the Edward James Foundation one reads, "Composition with Clouds and 'Pate.' " Elsewhere there is a reference to "two pieces of pate on a block."
Each object - sky, clouds, window, door, block, the two slices of pate (one standing, one lying flat) - has been painted with complete realism; each is powerfully present and aglow with color, like objects on panels from the era of Diego Velazquez.
There is no deformation except in the relationships between things, in space, and in the proportions. The clouds transport us to space outside, although we are indoors observing the block with the pate, while the clouds inside the room are of proportions proper for a still life. Yet, nothing surprises us because the antithesis of outdoors and indoors in this image has been transformed into a new order of being, light, and space which can have been created only by the imagination. The unmistakable clarity and tension in the new scene before our eyes are achieved by the sublime blue, white, and deep gray, which together compose an intense and radiant light. This light provides a new unity to which all things are subordinate and yet which can only reveal itself to us via the objects.