Ceci n’est pas une fleur

Thevetia peruviana

Two people studying a painting in a roomy art galley. One is an imbecile and the other is the artist. Requisite dialogue ensues.

“What’s it supposed to be?” asked the beady-eyed nincompoop, rubbing his chin.
“It’s not supposed to be anything,” remonstrated the great modernist painter. “It’s abstract.”
“Oh,” said the nincompoop.

And so René Magritte, the Belgian painter, presented his audience with The Treachery of Images, a conundrum.

The infamous painting is often cited as an example of self-reference. The painting is that of a tobacco pipe. Underneath are the words ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ which translate to This is not a pipe. And, in fact, it isn’t a pipe–it’s an image of a pipe. ‘This or Ceci’ may refer to the image of the pipe, the painting itself, or even the sentence–but it keeps pointing back to itself.

A reader of this blog writes: “I’ll give this post an 8½ out of 10.”

An astute reader adds: “Fellini and Magritte! What next?”





  1. Ceci n’est pas un commentaire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brilliant. Cynthia’s wit is nonpareil.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Was your alternative title for this post perhaps “Oh, the treachery of imanges?” As for modern art, I think I’d be lumped into the same category as the nincompoop. All “modernist” images are treacherous to me. Regarding your “header” image, I would say, “il est une fleur”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, and according to the phases of the moon, I’m an equal opportunity abuser, having contempt for both nincompoop and great modernist charlatans.

      Still, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

      I would say: C’est une photographie d’une fleur.


      • Totally agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And what can I say about the flower… or the phases of the moon? I just hope you don’t sprout furry ears and fangs when the moon is full.


      • No, you are more likely to find me with a handful of seeds, planting by the good grace of the plenilune.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So much safer than submitting to your wild side.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So maybe it’s not a flower but it is a beautiful representation of one. I enjoyed this post very much. 🙂


    • Thank you, Diane. The flower is from Thevetia peruviana, sometimes called Yellow Oleander or Mexican Oleander. Does it grow in your desert? I would not be surprised if it did. Here we call it the Lucky Nut Tree. I really don’t know why, as the seed is poisonous! How lucky is that?


      • I’ve not seen Thevetia peruviana, but it is listed in a gardening book for this area, so it probably would grow here. A yellow flowering plant called Tecoma stans is very popular here and also Tecomaria capensis with orange flowers.


      • Thanks, Diane. Tecoma stans grows here and probably Tecomaria capensis! On the island we call Yellow Oleander by another name: Lucky Nut. The leaves are thinner than oleander and it’s very nice.


  4. What next? Hitchcock indeed! 🙂


    • Fellini’s 8 1/2, naturally.


  5. M. Prospero: your comment section is as entertaining as your post. Not many bloggers achieve this status!


    • The rhapsodic comments section seems to have a mind of its own (that’s if there’s one at all–it’s all so unpredictable).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am not a human.


    • Are we ourselves or are we our thoughts?

      Pausing to think (while incidentally being): Aren’t we but a manipulation of language?

      Liked by 1 person

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