Câmara hiperbárica para animais
15 de Julho de 2019.
Missão da Marinha no mar dos Açores
16 de Julho de 2019.
Mostrar Tudo

Head in the clouds

Today you’ll learn about René Magritte, the famous Flemish surrealistic painter. 

Because there are already numerous biographies out there and Google provides us so kindly with quite a complete overview in his life and oeuvre, I’ll try to approach him from a different angle.

Even for the people who aren’t really actively roaming in the art scene, the image of a pipe with the description ‘ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (French for ‘this is not a pipe) must ring a bell. Or perhaps you have seen the applefaced guy with his bowler hat around? These frequently used images belong to the common visual knowledge, thanks to the many channels they’ve been exposed through. It could be you’ve been hiding from a dreadful downpour under one of his cloud-themed umbrella’s, and later on counting the days to your sunny holidays on one of his calendars (in which every page shows a different painting of him). Imagine the possibility a Magritte-plane even brought you to your final dream destination! (possible until 2022!)

The point is: his art doesn’t just hang inside museums, collecting dust. He wanted to distance himself from the somewhat posh attitude, performed by other artists who saw their art as something sublime. Something that could only be consumed within an adequate, prestigious space.

Magritte, on the contrary, wanted to bring art to a broader public. Thus the idea is more important then the realisation. By allowing his work to be merchandised on normal, daily life-objects he hoped to create a larger interest in art. A move that would eventually benefit everybody, in his opinion.

It is this down-to-earth attitude that inspires me. Magritte lived the most modest life, full of routine (his dog could trustfully count on a daily walk). He kept himself away from the romantic Bohemian lifestyle, living in the civic suburbs of Brussels. Did you know he didn’t even have his own studio? Though he could perfectly afford it! He just created everything on his kitchen table.

This trait of humbleness is to be said typical for the Belgian population. Except for the ‘Antwerpenaars’, the inhabitants of Antwerp, they have enough ego to cover us all…

But as unremarkable his lifestyle was, the extra-ordinary his work.

You see, before he became a famous painter he worked in a factory, designing wallpapers. Although he enjoyed his education at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels (what was considered very highly by the bourgeoisie back then) he didn’t consider this job as a minor one. It actually granted him the time and opportunity to explore different techniques and styles. During these 4 years in the factory he integrated cubism, futurism and abstractionism in his works. The most important breakthrough however came with the discovery of Giorgio De Chicoros oeuvre, an artist recommended by his boss. It would eventually lead to the development of his most famous, surrealistic works. Surrealism is by far my favourite painting style, because it is an expression of the subconscious. An exploration of the dream state…

Curious to see his work now? You can admire all of it in the Magritte museum in Brussels. But try to get your head no too high in the sky 😉

Text written in March 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Delphine and at the beginning of March I swept the land of the best fries and chocolate in the world for Madeira. So this better be worth it!

Besides my culinary interests I’m always hungry for new experiences.  Currently I’m taking part in the Madeiran Heritage program as a history teller. I like to sink my teeth into good books, have a healthy appetite for outdoor activities (running, hiking, water sports) and am always in for a good laugh and dance. I graduated in Visual Arts as a copywriter and art director, but I keep an open eye towards everything interesting moving this world.

For those who are still wondering about the first sentence: The land I’m talking about is Belgium, obviously :D.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.