René Magritte Biography
Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut, in 1898, the eldest son of Léopold Magritte, who was a tailor and textile merchant, and Régina, a milliner until her marriage. Little is known about Magritte's early life. He began lessons in drawing in 1910. On 12 March 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. This was not her first attempt; she had made many over a number of years, driving her husband Léopold to lock her into her bedroom. One day she escaped, and was missing for days. She was later discovered a mile or so down the river, dead. According to a legend, 13 year old Magritte was present when her body was retrieved from the water, but recent research has discredited this story, which may have originated with the family nurse.Supposedly, when his mother was found her dress was covering her face, an image that has been suggested as the source of several paintings Magritte painted in 1927 - 1928 of people with cloth obscuring their faces, including Les Amants.