The picture shows a pipe. Below it, Magritte painted, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe.", French for "This is not a pipe."
"The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it's just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture 'This is a pipe', I'd have been lying!" Magritte painted The Treachery of Images when he was 30 years old. (Title sometimes translated as The Treason of Images)
This is not a Pipe is Magritte's visual critique of language... What does it mean to write This is not a pipe across the bluntly literal painting of it?Magritte disliked being called an artist, preferring to be a considered a thinker who communicated by means of paint. Relationship between words and things was precisely the theme of so many of Magritte works, explored with disorienting effect. (Anja Weber 19Aug. 2011; http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/blogs/treachery-images-rene-magritte)(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images)