The Lovers II (1928) – René Magritte

This is the second painting in The Lover series by René Margritte and my favorite of the two. I came across these paintings for the first time a couple week ago and this image has come up in my mind many times since.

I love the dark and eerie feeling I get when viewing these two lovers open mouth kissing with what looks like bags over their heads. Their formal clothes in contrast to their covered faces show the best sides of themselves that they choose to show each other. Their face coverings on the other hand depict that no matter how physically close these two people are, they will never truly know the other person fully.

I have been pondering this message the last couple of weeks and I can’t help but feel a familiarity with these lovers. I used to hold this idea that someone would come along, we would fall in love, and everything would become better because I would feel fully understood by another. As I grew older I was let down by this narrative and found it unrealistic. Now I align with the philosophy that no one can ever fully know all of our experiences and we are therefore always going to face the plight of loneliness in some sense, even with those who we are the most close. Life isn’t a clear and easy path. Sometimes we lose those who are closest to us in romantic relationships, in friendships, and even to death itself. To me, sitting with ourselves, accepting our isolation in the vast universe, is a part of learning to live in this human form.

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