Ordinarily, clouds and birds fill the sky.
Yet in a rare combination, together, these elements take flight on a unique Brussels Airlines jetliner named Magritte.
It was just about a week ago that Brussels Airlines unveiled Magritte, a jet airliner that’s adorned with images and elements from three of surrealist René Magritte’s renowned paintings: La Belle Société (1965-66), La Clairvoyance (1936) and Le Retour (1940).
This decorated aircraft (an Airbus 320) was meant to give flight to passengers and, at the same time, to Magritte’s genius.
However, in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack at Brussels Airport, Magritte has been temporarily grounded at Liège Airport, which is located about 50 miles outside of Belgium’s capital city.
Magritte, the aircraft, had been a long time in the making.
After a team of Belgian designers first created the livery plans for the 168-passenger jet–working in close association with The Magritte Foundation–it was up to airbrush artist André Eisele to implement all the specifics at Eirtech Aviations’ painting facility, located in the Czech Republic.
Once completed, the unique airliner made its first public appearance at Brussels Airport Zaventem, to an enthusiastic chorus of “oohs and aahs”, before heading off on its maiden voyage to Madrid.
Explained Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines, “As a Belgian company, we want to show our passengers from all over the world what makes our country unique. We have great artists that put our country on the map, such as Magritte. The entire world knows the surrealist painter, but not everyone might know that he is Belgian.”
Last year with the unveiling of an aircraft named Rackham–aka the Tintin Plane–Brussels Airlines paid tribute to Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote “The Adventures of Tintin” under the pen name Hergé.
Trident, the third aircraft in the airline’s livery series designed to recognize Belgian icons, has an anticipated debut set for early next month.
About Magritte the Artist
As one of Belgium’s foremost artists, Magritte is revered for the lasting impact he made on the art world at large.
Born in 1898, into a modest family, adversity struck him as a child; his mother committed suicide.
As a teenager, he was already delving into various styles of painting, beginning with impressionism and cubism, before he eventually began focusing on surrealism.
Upon his death in 1967, Magritte had created more than 1,000 paintings, many of which are now part of the permanent collections of distinguished art museums throughout the world. In Los Angeles, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe)” and “The Liberator” are on exhibit, as part of the modern art collection.
Magritte, the artist, once said, “We must not fear daylight just because it almost always illuminates a miserable world.”
Yet within his work there can be found transcendence, where dreams and illusions roam freely.
Magritte, the aircraft, will continue to fly for the next six years, high above what may sometimes be an unmistakably “miserable world” but through an artist’s vision is, oftentimes, sublime.