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S4 Dada and Surrealism. Dada. Anarchic anti-art movement that developed in Zurich during World War 1. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia made art that was based on chance and nonsense. It rebelled against modern society, high culture and the Art World.

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S4 Dada and Surrealism

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S4 dada and surrealism

S4 Dada and Surrealism

S4 dada and surrealism


  • Anarchic anti-art movement that developed in Zurich during World War 1.

  • Artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia made art that was based on chance and nonsense.

  • It rebelled against modern society, high culture and the Art World.

S4 dada and surrealism

  • Jean (Hans) Arp created collages based on randomly dropping scraps of coloured paper and sticking them down.

S4 dada and surrealism

  • Picabia’s collages used imagery that was completely disassociated with any art before it.

S4 dada and surrealism

  • Most Radically, Marcel Duchamp would exhibit found objects which he would exhibit as art.



  • It was out of this spirit of Dada that Surrealism Emerged. But while Dada defined itself by a total lack of rules, the Surrealist movement, led by the poet Andre Breton attempted to define a new artistic ideology. It did this through its Manifestos. Breton published the first Surrealist Manifesto in 1924.

  • Surrealism started off as a literary movement of poets and writers with Andre Breton at it’s centre. It took as while for artists to find a visual language to represent the ideas of the movement.

Max ernst

Max Ernst

  • German artist who successfully bridged the gap from Dada to Surrealism.

  • His early works combine the Dada interest in chance and non-art with the Surrealist interest in the Subconscious and dreams.

  • This can be seen in his collages.

S4 dada and surrealism

  • . . And is frottages (images created through rubbings)

S4 dada and surrealism

  • . . .his grattages (scraped paintings)

S4 dada and surrealism

  • And a style he christened decalcamania



  • These techniques are tied up with the idea of “automatism”. Surrealists believed that conscious thought was less important than the subconscious. Through automatic drawing (drawing without thinking) and the sorts of techniques that Ernst employed, artists felt that they could more faithfully represent the inner world of the mind.

Sigmund freud

Sigmund Freud

  • Surrealists were greatly influenced by the emerging study of psychoanalysis, especially the work of the Austrian, Sigmund Freud. Freud emphasised the importance of the subconscious and believed that dreams were a gateway to it. Through analysing dreams, Freud felt he could gain a true picture of a person’s mind.

Surrealist painting veristic surrealism

Surrealist painting (Veristic Surrealism)

  • For some painters, automatist techniques were too limiting. They found that by displaying completely unrelated objects alongside each other in a painting they could present a personal vision or dream fantasy as if it were reality.

Rene magritte

Rene Magritte

  • Belgian Surrealist painter

  • Used an understated painting technique

  • Juxtaposed everyday things alongside each other to create an alternative reality

  • As a result Magritte made the extraordinary look ordinary

Salvidor dali

Salvidor Dali

  • Eccentric Catalan painter

  • Like Magritte placed unlikely objects alongside each other

  • Also created distorted semi-abstract forms which emphasise a dream-like state of unreality

Yves tanguy

Yves Tanguy

  • French-born American painter

  • Like Dali created dream-like landscapes

  • But Tanguy’s wastelands have no real objects in them

Juan miro

Juan Miro

  • Some artists, such as the Spaniard, Juan Miro, created paintings which like much other modern art rejected any sense of modelling or naturalistic perspective. Instead he pained symbols and shapes which represented subconscious thoughts and desires, often on flat backgrounds.

Task 1

Task 1

  • Describe what you can see in the painting.

  • Discuss the artist’s use of colour, tone and painting technique in different parts of the painting.

  • Why do you think this is a good example of a Surrealist painting?

  • What do you think is the subject or meaning of this painting?

  • What is your opinion of this painting? Why – give 5 reasons.

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