The curious image in this painting is reminiscent of those produced in the parlour game “The Exquisite Corpse.” This game was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase or draw a picture on a sheet of paper. The paper was then folded to conceal this part and passed to the next player for their contribution. The result was a nonsensical and bizarre story or image. The game got its name from the result obtained in an initial playing.; “The exquisite corpse drank the young wine.”
This painting is entirely the work of Rene Magritte and the image does not make sense. His inspiration comes from both the story of Rapunzel and the myth of the unicorn. Magritte has combined physical elements of each of these characters and presents us with a puzzling portrait of a being that is a half princess and half unicorn. It is an image that might appear in one’s dreams.
Magritte like Salvador Dali was a surrealist and they were both popular with the general public. Magritte used mainly realistic imagery, however, unlike Dali he did not distort his images with nightmare logic (Kostelanetz, 2013).