La boîte de Pandore (Pandora's box) Artist: René Magritte (Belgian, 1898–1967)


Modern and Contemporary Art

Not on view

The Belgian artist René Magritte is one of the major representatives of European Surrealism. He invented a highly original art of figurative painting, depicting ordinary objects and figures in a realistic way but arranging them in mysterious compositions with enigmatic titles. In this painting, Magritte depicts an urban landscape set against a flamboyant red sky. The back of a male figure, who wears one of Magritte’s characteristic bowler hats, obstructs the view of the scene. The intense red sky and empty street, combined with the presence of the man whose face remains hidden and the presence of a white rose, contribute to the mysterious character of the painting. The title refers to the Greek legend of Pandora, the first woman on earth, who, driven by her curiosity, opened the casket filled by the gods with all the world's evils, unleashing them upon mankind.


Oil on canvas


17 7/8 × 21 5/8 in. (45.4 × 54.9 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John A. Cook, B.A.1932

Accession Number



20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • Michel Draguet, El Mundo Invisble de René Magritte, exh. cat. (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2010),
Object copyright
Additional information


bridge flowers man


Signed lower right "Magritte"; on back of canvas upper right, printed "La Boite de Pandore/ 1951"


Magritte, Rene 1898-1967

Technical metadata and APIs


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