The Magic Quill No. 148: Between the Lines
Contest winner: greyniffler
Runner-up: Linda Carrig
MINISTRY OF MAGIC
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Improper Use of Magic Office
Form IUM-21: Report of Belatedly Discovered Violation
REPORT BY: Lysippus Bean, junior apprentice obliviator
REPORT ON: Possible violation of Statute of Secrecy
DATE: Agnes Onslow (we're just friends)
LOCATION: Miss Onslow's art studio (she makes talking portraits).
SECURITY LEVEL: MoM Eyes-Only confidentiality, secured by spells to repel unauthorized Oi. You there. I need help
DESCRIPTION OF VIOLATION (Attach additional rolls of parchment as needed): While waiting for my Aunt Eunice as she sat for a portrait, I started to browse through some books on Muggle painters and their weird, non-moving Hello? Is anyone there? I could use a bit of help getting out of here
pictures. I was struck by some of the images, and after talking with Agnes and analyzing them a bit further, I have become convinced Look, if you could contact someone at the RMB, Blokebury on Rye office, have them tell Agent Spankison or Agent Dalrymple that I'm stuck in here. The name is Sadie
that painters from our world have been mingling with Muggle painters, resulting in a horrifying breach of magical secrecy.
I found the strongest evidence of this in Degas' paintings of ballerinas
- who, when viewed through spectrespecs, are revealed to be hags having a dance lesson. Though ordinarly Muggles would Well? Am I going to be rescued?
be unable to penetrate the concealment charm on these canvases, the fact that Degas was allowed to witness such a spectacle must at least raise a concern. To be sure, this violation happened so long ago that nothing can be done about it. Yet I fear it may only be the tip of the iceberg.
My greatest worries focus on the artist RenĂ© Magritte
, who for some time shared his studio with one of our world's most All right, I suppose you're not doing anything to help me because you don't understand how I broke into this highly classified report. I confess! I'm a burglar! But I promise you, I was using my skills for good
prolific painters, Vladimir Smazaniy. According to our archives, Smazaniy was permitted to study under Magritte on the condition that he did not reveal the existence of magic to his master. From Magritte's paintings, however, it is If you really must know (and apparently you must), I got in here through a door in Uncle or Aunt Leslie's house on chicken legs. Didn't know he or she was still alive? Now you do. HELP!
evident that Smazaniy went back on his word. Magritte's paintings clearly show - from a muddled, Muggle perspective - that he was
even familiar with the Ministry, owing to his frequent depiction of men wearing the style of suits and bowler hats then favored by our agents.
Perhaps Magritte was simply influenced by unintentional slips that he glimpsed from time to time, such as the You see, Il Comte had the big creep (or creepess) under some kind of extra-juice Imperius curse. I followed them to the oval room with all the well-dressed dummies in it, and slipped into a ball gown while they weren't looking. They thought I was one of the mannequins
portrait behind the artist in the non-moving photo charm-linked above. I believe the painting in that photo to depict Smazaniy himself, or at least a flash-impression Magritte may have gotten when he momentarily caught Smazaniy using the vanishing cream he was known to use, particularly when painting unauthorized portraits.
I am spell-linking several other examples of Magritte's work, which I feel should I was waiting to see what would happen when Il Comte stepped on the trick floorboard and got jinxed right out of the house, but before I could do anything, Uncle or Auntie's nephew charged into the room and suddenly, spells were blasting everywhere
be studied and possibly removed from Muggle collections - though I realize the cost of eradicating them from all Muggle memory would be prohibitive at this point.
First, consider the painting Elective Infinities
, which I believe is based on Magritte's garbled memory of a dragon Smazaniy was known to have kept as a pet. Agnes says baby dragon tears I grabbed the ring of Count Matthias right out of Il Comte's hand and ran for it. Suddenly all the blasting wands were pointed at me. I tried one door after another as I ran down the corridor
are essential to the pigments used in moving paintings. If Magritte saw this, it is likely that he also witnessed Smazaniy painting wizard portraits. Further evidence of There was a door that led to some icy rock in outerspace. I could see Jupiter at close-range from there. I decided against going in
this is in Magritte's painting The Difficult Crossing
- note the painting of the ship in the background, virtually identical to a
seascape Smazaniy sold to the Maritime Museum of Idaho in 1966.
Then there is Golconda
, which (except for the Then there was a door that led to a desert, then a mountain peak, then a boat in the middle of the ocean. I was running out of time to find a place to hide
fact that it appears frozen in time) could be mistaken for a wizartist's conception of the 1953 epidemic of spontaneous random apparition, one of the worst public-health disasters in the wizarding world's history. How did Magritte escape being obliviated after this incident, long enough to paint this picture? Again, we must assume Smazaniy had a hand in it.The Happy Donor
can easily be interpreted as Magritte's depiction of Smazaniy disapparating in front of him. The poor fellow Just as they were about to catch me up, I threw myself through the very next door without looking where it led to, and here I am
must have thought himself mad. The Human Condition
could appear as a cry for help by a Muggle painting master struggling to capture the magical techniques of his student; note how Magritte Well, that's over-simplifying. I feel like I've been through every book in Flourish and Blotts, and since I couldn't break into any RMB documents, this is the closest I could get. So will you send for Spanky now?
seems to struggle with the distinction between a picture of
a thing and the thing itself.The Listening Room
suggests that Smazaniy allowed Magritte to catch him engorging pieces of fruit, no doubt in his pursuit of ever higher Spanky? Is that you?
degrees of detail in his series of still-lifes. Not to be Reproduced
appears to show Smazaniy caught in the act of painting his self-portrait, using the special mirror he Oh, bother. They've followed me in here. Just pretend I'm not here
borrowed from Hogsmeade hairdresser Flavia Snippens in 1937. On the Threshold of Liberty
suggests some of Magritte's confusion, as he interpreted the moving pictures on the walls of Smazaniy's flat as a series of impossible windows leading to different places.
In The Son of Man
, we see evidence that Magritte witnessed Smazaniy doing a hovering What the... Look out! They're shooting spells at me. In here! I reckon they're trying to erase me
charm. No one who knew Smazaniy can fail to recognize his left eye, which is just visible behind the apple, or his left elbow, which accidentally got I could really stand to be rescued right now
fixed on backward after he splinched himself in 1963. Time Transfixed
clearly shows an apparition of the ghost train that inhabited Smazaniy's flat in Owch! I thimk ivy bean hett!
Brussels, which happened to be built on the site of the Shrinking Train Disaster of 1911 - the reason none of the magical schools on the continent have anything like the Hogwarts Express today. And finally, in The Treachery of Images
, we see the full extent of Eye geuss thay wur shutinge mispels at me
the harm all these violations of wizarding secrecy wreaked on Magritte's mind. As early as 1928 - the year he took Smazaniy in as his pupil - he Aye wunder wut thyss iz gonig two due tu mi aftre igh git owt uv heer
was already losing his conviction that what he saw was real.
It is too late to save Magritte from the mental damage resulting from Smazaniy's numerous indiscretions. However, I recommend Pleez sumbuddy dew summit suen
that we take immediate steps to prevent any further harm from coming through these pictures. I urge that the Ministry consider using concealment charms, or at least negotiate with the respective ministries of the countries where each painting Thare cumin kant holed owt mutsh longur
is held to have them removed from public view.
+++ A LITTLE ANNOUNCEMENT +++
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