The Song of the Violet (1951) – René Magritte
The most terrifying of all Magritte’s visions was of a world of utter silence in which humans and objects have turned to stone, as in some Absurdist play.
For the only consciousness which can appear to me in its own temporisation is mine, and it can do so only by renouncing all objectivity. In short the for-itself as for-itself cannot be known by the Other. The object which I apprehend under the name of the Other appears to me in a radically other form. The Other is not a for-itself as he appears to me; I do not appear to myself as I am for-the-Other. I am incapable of apprehending for myself the self which I am for the Other, just as I am incapable of apprehending on the basis of the Other-as-object which appears to me, what the Other is for himself.
The Virgin of the Annunciation by Antonello da Messina.
He spent ages adjusting the position of Billie Whitelaw’s hands on her upper arms, creating, whether he recognised it or not, a striking parallel with the picture of The Virgin of the Annunciation by Antonelle da Messina which had impressed him so much in the Alte Pinakotek in Munich forty years before. Yet while the face of the virgin is one of calmness and serenity, Beckett’s image is transformed into a tortured soul, her hands claw-like, her face full of pain and distress.
Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett
Caravaggio’s painting provided Beckett with the inspiration for his most striking piece of theatre: Not, I.
Samuel Beckett – John Minihan (1985)
Read Samuel Beckett’s Library, a superb tracing of Beckett’s book collection and its marginalia and influence.