Painted in 1943, La préméditation is an exuberant explosion of impossible flowers all stemming from the same plant. There is a fantastic, even shameless, enjoyment and wit in this painting that derives not only from the relatively discreet subject matter, but more from the technique with which it has been rendered. The feathered brushstrokes appear to lampoon Renoir, and indeed Impressionism in general. Details of the painting seen alone look almost like a real Impressionist picture, and yet the total effect, with the various different flowers paradoxically sharing the same stem, makes it explicit that this is not a serious picture.
Magritte turned to this mockery of Impressionism during the Second World War, as a way of making bright, joyous paintings filled with wit and light. In La préméditation, the sheer pleasure of the still life is distilled, but enhanced infinitely by the inclusion of Magritte's humour. The viewer is taken in on the joke, made an accomplice. Magritte felt that this was an important way of using his Surreal take on the world during the dark days of the War. He could not abide the idea of making miserable, gloomy prophetic works when the people were already miserable and living in a gloomy and oppressed world. He even claimed to be ashamed of having painted Le drapeau noir, often referred to as his only war painting. By using Renoir's style yet retaining a Magrittean idiom, he managed not only to continue in a vein of invention, but also unashamedly to instill some happiness and laughter in his viewers. However, the initial reaction from many of his devout and devoted fans was not good - they were shocked and scandalised at the way Magritte had used an Impressionist, and therefore conservative, artistic approach. Yet it was precisely this shock and scandal that showed that Magritte had succeeded; he had managed to surprise even his fans, to present them with something completely unexpected. In Magritte's mind, this was the essential core and purpose of his art. The very existence of his fans' expectations and preconceptions of what a Magritte should look like proved the necessity of some tactic to wrong-foot them, to jar them out of a complacent viewing of his work. Thus, through La préméditation's simple subject matter and what had become a traditional and academic style, Magritte has managed to create something scandalous, revolutionary, Surreal - but above all fun.