Let’s revisit René Magritte. I already sampled his famous Ceci n’est pas une pipe (this is not a pipe) piece by painting a pint glass instead of a pipe, and changing the name to “Ceci n’est pas une pint.” This week’s Thirsty Thursday beer painting is a parody of his self-portrait The Son of Man. This painting leaves a lot up to the interpreter as the apple, or beer pint in this case, completely obscures the face of Magritte. I call this one The Pint of Man.
Magritte says this about the painting, “At least it hides the face partly well, so you have the apparent face, the apple hiding the visible, but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present. (In a radio interview with Jean Neyens (1965), cited in Torczyner, Magritte: Ideas and Images, trans. Richard Millen (New York: Harry N. Abrams), p.172.)
Were you thinking about beer goggles while reading the last paragraph? Because that’s what came to my mind. I think the beer pint is a nice addition to Magritte’s concept, because alcohol hides a bit from any social interaction, yet it seems to be readily available at most social times. Entrenched drug cultures often eliminate the stigma of a drug so much that the drug becomes a normal day-to-day habit, and is no longer acknowledged for what it is. I think that the beer pint set in the stage of The Son of Man is accurate to the original concept by Magritte, because the beer interchanges so well with the apple, a symbol for the fruit of good and evil. Those of us who indulge in beer know that it is good, but too much can be evil, and sometimes can lead to harmful aftereffects. Whether beer is good, or evil is debatable, however it can definitely add, or subtract from a conversation. Alcohol can add when there is nothing to talk about, but subtract when too much clouds the mind.
Cheers, and remember, “Moderation in all things… including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde