|Courtesy of www.ReneMagritte.org|
Here, against the same kind of somber blue, bluish green, or umber background which Magritte used in 1928 (as in Discovery) to set off his figures in a hard light reminiscent of Caravaggio, he has painted a spectral silhouette of a strange rape.
He has deformed the naked lower part of the woman's body so that it almost seems she is suffering from elephantiasis. Her gesture is defensive, cramped, anxious. Especially unusual is the combination of the silhouette of the dark man, the woman's outline, and her shadow, which includes even the man's legs and feet. In proportion to the man's head (the face is forced awray and the ear is seen in foreshortening), his hands are colossal.
The contamination of the two bodies, the confusion of the two pairs of hands, the violent effect created by the hard shadow - which is simultaneously a volume, absorbed into the heavy forms of the nude woman - give the painting a fierce and sensual yet cold animation that Magritte never again equaled.