Magritte altered perceptions of painting and reality with startling simple images which demand interpretation even as they refute it. Born in Belgium in 1898, the young René’s imagination was haunted by the suicide of his mother in 1914. Her body was recovered from a river in 1912, with her skirt apparently obscuring her face. This became a recurrent theme in the artist’s mature work, in which layers of reality are continually veiled, unveiled and traversed. Some of his best-known works involve the recontextualisation or scaling of familiar objects, such as The Listening Room (1952), in which a vast green apple fills a room overlooking the sea. Magritte was a defining figure in the surrealist movement and his influence continues to be felt in areas such as pop and conceptual art.