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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: Portrait Of An Egg
By Lynda Schultz


Monsieur Magritte gently placed the egg in the middle of the table. He angled it first this way, and then that way, until it was positioned exactly as he wanted it.

The light caught the egg and created a shadow that left its mark on the impeccable azure blue tablecloth, a stain that lengthened and shortened as the day wore on.

Early on the first day, Magritte set up his easel, carefully arranging his palette and his brushes. He prepared his oils, mixing with precision the colours that would so perfectly represent his egg on canvass.

During the days that followed there were times when he would put aside his brush and simply look at the egg, studying each delicately rounded and shadowed curve. Then the painter would pick up his palette and his brush and continue, totally absorbed in transferring what he saw, to what was unfolding before him.

Day after day, sitting erect in his straight-backed wooden chair, he studied the egg and transferred the image. His friends ceased to call. He was working and they knew better than to intrude. To disturb René Magritte’s concentration was tantamount to sacrilege.

Madame Magritte walked softly through the house, shooing the housemaid away from the closed door to her husband’s studio. The household revolved around the egg.

When the light faded, Magritte reluctantly put down his brush and his paints and retired to more mundane affairs. But though he was not physically in the room with his precious object, his presence was always there. When he did appear for meals, he was distracted, his mind back in his studio thinking about the egg. His conversation was reduced to monosyllables and his wife, the soul of patience, sighed and continued her meal in silence.

Evenings went and mornings came as Magritte hide himself away in his studio. A touch of this colour, a stroke of that shade, a point of light, a line of dark until one day, the painting was finished.

His intimates were invited to come to tea. There was a undercurrent of expectation in the drawing room that could not quite be restrained even by the required manners of polite society. Everyone wanted to see Magritte’s egg on canvass.

The housemaid finally scurried away with the last of the tea cups and the tray of crumbs left behind after the cakes were gone. Madame Magritte withdrew with a slight smile and a gentle nod directed towards her husband. The painter rose from his chair and turned to the door leading into his studio.

“Come, my friends, and see my masterpiece.”

They entered, circling around the painting, now shrouded by a piece of fabric. On the blue tablecloth sat the egg, resplendent in the afternoon light. The artist placed a thin hand at the center point of the drape and, sure that he had everyone’s undivided attention, swiftly pulled it away from the canvass.

There was a gasp, and then a stunned silence.

One of the more intrepid observers blurted out: “But René, that is not an egg!”

Before them, poised as though about to fly from the azure blue of the canvass, was the figure of a bird with brilliantly coloured wings outstretched. There was a light in its eyes that shone with intelligence and, just a hint of mockery.

René Magritte smiled at the confusion in the faces before him.

“It is important”, he said, “to see the end right from the beginning. You see an egg. I see the potential of the egg. I paint it as God sees it”.*

* story based (with considerable liberty taken) on a painting by René Magritte, a Belgian artist of the early twentieth century.

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This article has been read 1226 times
Member Comments
Member Date
janet rubin02/20/06
I absolutely love this one. Well-written. Made me laugh in places like when you refer to "more mundane activities"- the egg watching sounded mundane enough! Also the speaking in monosyllables and the wife's reaction. It all reminds me of myself when I'm really absorbed in a writing project. Good job.
Tammy Cannon02/20/06
The title is what attracted my attention. Wonderful story with a splash of perspective! Thanks.
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/20/06
I love it! The ending was perfect.
david grant02/21/06
Nice twist at the end and nice moral. Well done! A real winner!

Cassie Memmer02/23/06
Absolute wisdom in this message. Oh, to see things and people through the eyes of God! Written superbly! Wonderful!
Jan Ackerson 02/23/06
I loved this until I got to the end--and then I REALLY loved it! Fantastic!
Anita Neuman02/23/06
You carried me right through. I got sucked into the household, walking around on eggshells (if you will) with the wife and staff, and then eagerly anticipating the great revelation. And what a great revelation it was. AWESOME!!!
Julianne Jones02/24/06
Wonderful message in this skilfully told tale. Well done.
Shari Armstrong 02/25/06
Wow -this was cool. I was wondering where it was going. I half expected someone to cook the egg by mistake ;) very well done :)
Debbie Sickler02/25/06
I loved that you wrote about something as simple and potentially boring as an egg, yet caused your reader to be completely involved and engrossed. I was wondering if it was going to be a picture of a chicken as a humorous ending. Your bird completely surprised me with the deeper meaning. Great story!

(There was one typo I caught, just FYI. You typed that he HIDE himself away, instead of HID.)

Linda Watson Owen02/26/06
Absolutely delightful! I love this one too!
Carla Feagans02/26/06
Wonderfully written, I was drawn in immediately and could picture what was happening throughout - except to guess how it might end! What a wonderful ending and a superb message.

Reminds me of the newer Veggie Tales video, A Snoodle's Tale. :)

Don't you just love God's perspective?
Marilyn Schnepp 02/27/06
Such a delightful take on the topic "end"! God sees us as we will be when we have produced what our potential was to be and after we have been honed, sculpted, and perfected! A great write, and a terrific read! Thank you.
Suzanne R02/27/06
I love it - both the content and the style of writing - well done!
Teri Wilson03/01/06
Lynda, this is wonderfully creative. Please do not give up entering the challenges!