René Magritte & Immanuel Kant

The Lovers ll by René Magritte

René Magritte is world-renowned Belgian surrealist artist made widely known by his oil on canvas paintings such as The Son of Man, The Treachery of Images, and my personal all time favorite painting, which I will be talking about today, The Lovers ll.

The Lovers ll is a piece painted in 1928 that depicts two lovers standing in a room embracing in a kiss, only separated by a thin layer of fabric preventing them from making a complete physical connection with one another. In the critique that I chose for this piece the author, Seth Linson, argues that the beauty of this art is found in it’s meaning. There are many interpretations of this painting, but Linson views it as a statement telling us that even individuals as close as lovers can never truly know one another. The thin veils represent the parts of us that we keep secret and hidden from others, even those we desire to know us the most.

“Even if they are not willingly keeping their true selves hidden, every individual is infinitely complex; it may be impossible to know another person fully.”

Seth Linson

While some may argue that the painting is too clean, overly dull or the biggest complaint, off-centered, Linson claims that this painting is powerful, because sadness speaks to us. At first glance this painting may appear romantic, but ultimately it is portraying loneliness and isolation while being in the presence of another. It shows passion fueled by the frustration of something holding the lovers back from the true connection they are both desiring.

“Taste is the faculty of judging of an object or a method of representing it by an entirely disinterested satisfaction or dissatisfaction”

Immanuel Kant (Pg 286)

The Moment from Kant’s 4 moments in the judgement of taste that I decided to hone in on for this piece is Moment 1, Quality. This moment states that in order to pass Kants taste test we need to approach the art with unbiased disinterest. We must disconnect ourselves and our own personal interest with our judgements in order for them to be valid.

The very first time I saw The Lovers ll I was completely mesmerized and couldn’t stop thinking about the painting. This was weird for me, because I am not a painting person. When it comes to art I tend to find myself moved by other mediums such as music, film, and poetry, and have never really found any interest in paintings. Not only was I not very into paintings, but I knew nothing about René Magritte at the time, I had no clue what the meaning, if any, behind the painting could be, and I had no current bias towards romance or relationships that could effect the way the painting made me feel. There was just something about the painting that made me feel good just because it made me feel good. I liked it for seemingly no other reason than for the painting itself. A completely disinterested judgement.

I feel as though this disinterested judgement also connects with Kants Moment 3, Relation. There is some sense of mystery about this painting that draws me back to it over and over again. I can’t quite grasp what it is about the art piece that I would normally find no interest in that connects me to it, but I just like it and I want to know more. When I look at this painting my mental powers are at play. My mind “short circuits” and I am no longer just looking at some paint on a canvas, but I am now looking at art, even if I can’t understand why or prove it.

I’ve liked this painting for so long now that i decided to get it tattooed on me back in April.



  1. kathydsimmons says:

    What a cool painting – and what passionate love of it to have it tattooed on you! It made me think of the pandemic right away, so it was funny to see that you added a picture at the bottom about that too. I definitely think I would have passed Moment 1 with this one too…


    1. zeldalov364 says:

      Haha yeah the painting has kind of resurfaced in the media since the pandemic has started!


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