Rene Magritte's forte was the imaginative juxtaposition of the unexpected with the everyday. Sometimes this meant combining everyday things in unfamiliar ways, such as in, for example, The empire of lights
, which features night and day occurring simultaneously; the shadow of night upon the earth, and daylight in the sky. For this particular Picta Magritte design, Giancarlo chose another painting of that nature, albeit a far more obscure one. (In fact, I've completely failed to find its proper title, or any image for it outside of the one Ser Jacopo provides.) It was, quite simply, a painting of a Belgian 500 franc note featuring King Leopold II. Those of Magritte's day who were familiar with this denomination, however, may have been struck by a moment of perplexity as they tried to figure out why Magritte's own version of this note seemed un
familiar. The answer was that King Leopold II had unexpectedly sprouted a pipe, clenched in his jaw with its smoke wafting out of his portrait's frame. A pipe the shape of which was the spitting image of this Ser Jacopo design.
- Eric N. Squires