Forget Trump White House, Belgium shows Melania the surreal

BRUSSELS, May 25 (Reuters) - As her reality TV star husband met many of his Western allies for the first time as U.S. president on Thursday, Melania Trump was offered a different take on the surreal by her hosts in Brussels.

The first lady, a Slovenian-born former model, toured a museum dedicated to Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte in the company of wives of other national leaders who were attending a summit of the NATO military alliance across town.

Famed for works like the 1964 "self-portrait" of a bowler-hatted man whose face is hidden by an apple or the image of a pipe subtitled "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe), Magritte has much to teach the world about questioning outward appearances, and about self-effacement, Belgian organizers said.

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Melania Trump visits the Magritte Museum in Brussels
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Melania Trump visits the Magritte Museum in Brussels
Turkey's first lady Emine Erdogan, Iceland's Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir, France's first lady Brigitte Trogneux, U.S. first lady Melania Trump, Slovenia's Mojca Stropnik, Bulgaria's Desislava Radeva, Belgium's Amelie Derbaudrenghien and Norway's Ingrid Schulerud- Stoltenberg visit the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
First Lady of the US Melania Trump takes part in a visit to the Magritte Museum, on May 25, 2017, in Brussels, on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. / AFP PHOTO / BELGA / ERIC LALMAND / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read ERIC LALMAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Luxembourg's Gauthier Destenay, Slovenia's Mojca Stropnik, Turkey's first lady Emine Erdogan and U.S. first lady Melania Trump visit the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Iceland's Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir, Bulgaria Desislava Radeva, Norway's Ingrid Schulerud - Stoltenberg, France's first lady Brigitte Trogneux, Belgiums's Amelie Derbaudrenghien, Luxembourg's Gauthier Destenay, Slovenia's Mojca Stropnik, Turkey's first lady Emine Erdogan and U.S. first lady Melania Trump visit the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and France's first lady Brigitte Trogneux visit the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
U.S. first lady Melania Trump arrives at the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Turkey's first lady Emine Erdogan visit the Magritte Museum in Brussels, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
(L-R) Amelie Derbaudrenghien, partner of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and First Lady of the US Melania Trump arrive to take part in a visit to the Magritte Museum, on May 25, 2017, in Brussels, on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit. / AFP PHOTO / BELGA / ERIC LALMAND / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read ERIC LALMAND/AFP/Getty Images)
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"You never know," museum director Michel Draguet said ahead of the first lady's visit. "Maybe Donald Trump will move from one kind of surrealism to another, thanks to Magritte's ideas."

The outspoken 70-year-old wealthy businessman and TV celebrity stunned many U.S. allies by entering the White House in January. He has broken a mould among world leaders with a style that offers little evidence of self-doubt and ideas that run counter to received wisdom among Western diplomats.

His 47-year-old third wife was joined by other NATO spouses including the devoutly Muslim wife of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan; Brigitte Trogneux, who met Emmanuel Macron when she taught the new French president in school; and Gauthier Destenay, who is married to Luxembourg's gay prime minister.

Speaking later, curator Draguet said Melania Trump "showed great interest in surrealism's free spirit and invention."

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Melania Trump's body language during foreign trip raises eyebrows
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Melania Trump's body language during foreign trip raises eyebrows
US President Donald Trump (C) wears the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal, watched by First Lady Melania Trump (L) and a translator (R) after receiving it from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to tour the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for his first international trip as president, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and at the G7 summit in Sicily, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and first lady Melania Trump greet holocaust survivor Margot Herschenbaum after a wreath-laying at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem May 23, 2017. Trump was given the gift of a replica of the personal album belonging to young holocaust victim Ester Goldstein, who was Herschenbaum's sister. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wait the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron (unseen) before a lunch ahead of a NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. Picture taken May 20, 2017. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One to depart for Israel from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hold hands as they arrive to board Air Force One for travel to Rome from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Brussels Airport in Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Brussels Airport, in Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Melania Trump (2nd L) and Sara Netanyahu (2nd R) walk onstage with their respective husbands, U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), before a dinner at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) and first lady Melania Trump arrive to leave notes at the Western Wall in Jerusalem May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump watches as First Lady Melania Trump signs the guest book at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembark Air Force One upon their arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on May 22, 2017, as part of his first trip overseas. / AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (2-L), First Lady Melania Trump, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin (L) and his wife Nehama arrive at the President's Residence in Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MAY 20: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI ROYAL COUNCIL / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) ahead of a dinner given in honour of him at Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 20, 2017. (Photo by Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump chats with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at a ceremony where US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) speaks with with King Philippe of Belgium (R) as first lady Melania Trump (C rear) walks Queen Mathilde at the Palace in Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Pope Francis talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino/pool
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Trump's first foreign tour, which has so far taken him to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome and will end this weekend at a G7 summit in Sicily, has been presented by aides as reassuring allies that Washington remains a reliable partner under a head of state who faces a series of ethics questions back home.

For Charles Michel, the 41-year-old premier whose partner showed the group around Brussels, an itinerary that also took in tea with Belgium's queen was also a chance to show those close to power a host country keen to punch above its weight.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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