From Famous Artists Cats: The Book

What's That Cat Doing in Rene Magritte's Invisible World?

David Stone
Magritte's Cat in the Invisible World
Magritte's Cat in the Invisible World

A fascinating creator or surreal art, the master surrealist Rene Magritte (See Magritte: Attempting the Impossible) might be puzzled by the Invisible Cat, but not for long.

"This is not a cat," Magritte may have written beneath the image.

Or, "It is a union that suggests the essential mystery of the world," as he once told the New York Times about constructing images out of objects that don't usually belong together.

Popular with museum visitors for the seeming whimsey of his images, Rene Magritte's paintings reinforce an unconscious world with familiar images. What's surreal about a boulder, after all? In Invisible Cat, inspired by the painter's Invisible World, contemporary artist Deborah Julian's cat takes it one step further.

Into the invisible world steps a cat, and the cat must also be invisible.

Surrealism, see?

Maybe, yes/Maybe, no, but in either case, as you can see, it's of no matter to Rene Magritte's Cat In The Invisible World.

You may also like… A Cat Admires His Good Looks In Pablo Picasso's Mirror.

Is this cat surreal?

Here's the problem, I think.

When you look at René Magritte's Cat In The Invisible World, you see the Belgian painter’s Invisible World as he painted it in 1954.

It's ironic, of course. How can you see an invisible world?

Or is there something else you don't see? That's the sort of mystery that makes surrealism intriguing. Calisthenics for your mind.

But then, you see a cute, tiger-striped cat lounging beside the boulder, unaware that he, it and everything else is supposed to pass unseen.

The explanation may only be easy for those of us who have been around cats enough to know they possess the magic of invisibility and teleportation.

Cats live in both worlds, real and surreal, just as Rene Magritte intended his paintings to. Simple now, right?

Rene Magritte displayed his unmatched wizardry by making surrealism seem instantly accessible, fooling the eye with outward clarity.

If this is an invisible world, what are we looking at?

Magritte suggests that the world we see is always a hopeful illusion created to satisfy our blindness.

Cats are funny, right? They are also masters of the universe.

Deborah Julian's Famous Artists' Cats brings cat art to masterpieces, imagining what each would be like, if the artist had her cats. 

What would happen if famous artists had her snoopy, assertive, creative cats? That's what Deborah Julian asked herself. The answers are fun, lively and often beautiful.

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