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Magritte said of this painting:
“At least it hides the face partly. Well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.”
This is essentially what he means, especially when you put it into the context of his general body of work surrounding the subject, from his famous pipe painting to the painting of a locomotive arbitrarily coming out of a fireplace (about which he directly stated it was placed to raise the question and nothing further).