|The Son of Man by Magritte|
Magritte's Son of Man gets me involved. I keep wanting to move the apple. I keep wanting to see behind the apple. I find it hard to just turn away. Magritte knew that would happen. So he painted it and for years viewers like me have had to keep their hands behind their back.
Mankind's desire to see face-to-face stems from the undeniable attractiveness of transparency. It comes from man's heart's longing for intimacy, to know and be known. Magritte's green apple creates tension, it denies access to the intimacy that seems so close at hand. It inserts doubt and even fear. And that reminds me of Adam.
After eating the forbidden fruit, everything changed. Adam probably saw the fruit hang like Magritte's green apple hiding the countenance of God. Transparency was gone. Intimacy was replaced by naked distance. No more seeing face-to-face.
Magritte's work illustrates the value and nature of countenance. By hiding it, he uncovers our tremendous attraction to it and its necessity status.
In an interview, Magritte had this to say:
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.[Wikipedia]
After reading that, I thought, "Of course, it is our nature to want to see what is hidden by every material picture we see." Then I wondered, "Why is that?"
Instantly, this thought came: We are not satisfied with what two eyes report, we seek the spiritually fashioned. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: A mortal, corporeal, or finite conception of God cannot embrace the glories of limitless, incorporeal Life and Love.S&H 258:1-3 And Paul tells us the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.Hebrews 11:3
O, yes, my heart does seek the lighter, finer things of Mind and nothing more opaque.
NOTE: The Son of Man is part of a private collection so we don't have an opportunity to even try to move the apple!