Friday, 17 November 2017

Magritte: This is Not a Biography Review (Vincent Zabus, Thomas Campi)

A man buys a bowler hat that magically transports him into the surrealist world of painter Rene Magritte, surrounded by the artist’s images and themes. Why a bowler hat? Because of Magritte’s most famous painting, The Son of Man (the businessman in a bowler hat whose face is obscured by a green apple). 

In Magritte: This is Not a Biography, writer Vincent Zabus takes the imaginative approach to tell a non-fiction biography in the form of a fictional narrative. Because of this style and the book’s shortness, it’s not the most thorough overview but you get a general idea of Magritte’s life and the ideas behind his work. By far the most impressive aspect of the book is Thomas Campi’s painted art which adopts, replicates and incorporates Magritte’s style beautifully into the narrative.

That said, I admired the book more than I enjoyed it. Neither the contrived story nor the subject’s life was that interesting or entertaining but I appreciated the remarkable talent that went into the visuals enormously and I did learn a fair bit too. Magritte: This is Not a Biography is worth a look for any comics fan after a quick taste of this painter’s life and art.

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