In this work Magritte presents the equivalent visual and verbal signs for the concept ciel (French for "sky") in two identically shaped panels: on the left in a trompe l'oeil depiction of an atmospheric patch of blue sky, captured and brought down to earth, and on the right with the word ciel in black script, austerely flat and precise. Set in a non-descript interior with a
wood-paneled wall and floor, the angular framed panels of this word-image pair recall the backs of stretched canvases leaning against a wall, yet the
deep shadows they cast suggest freestanding objects, propped up by some invisible mechanism. In combination, these puzzling components probe the complex relationship between words and images, as well as the tropes and conventions of painterly representation.