Characteristics of Surrealism • Elements of surprise • Unexpected juxtapositions • Distortions of reality • Dream like subject matter • Interest in the subconcious • Magical and instictive
Surrealist Artists Salvador Dali - Spanish Rene Magritte - Belgian Joan Miró - Spanish Max Ernst - German Giorgio de Chirico - Greek
Giorgio de Chirico. Mystery and Melancholy of a Street. 1914. Oil on canvas. 88 x 72 cm. Private collection.
Surrealism • Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members • The surrealist movement of visual art and literature, flourished in Europe between World Wars I and II. • Surrealism grew principally out of the earlier Dada movement, which before World War I produced works of anti-art that deliberately defied reason; but Surrealism emphasis was not on denial but on positive expression.
Surrealism • Artists like René Magritte and Salvador Dali ignored painting techniques of contemporary painting but used traditional forms of realistic painting. • The details of the paintings were realistic, but they were combined in such a way that the painting as a whole was very far from realistic. • Just as in dreams the fleeting images of the subconscious are mingled together to form strange and fantastic pictures. • The Surrealist painters applied these to canvas and developed the possibilities of this strange imagery in a conscious manner.
Surrealism • Dream analysis and the hidden unconscious was of the utmost importance to the Surrealists in developing methods to liberate imagination. • The group aimed to revolutionise human experience, including its personal, cultural, social, and political aspects, by freeing people from what they saw as false rationality, and restrictive customs and structures. • In 1924 The Surrealist Manifesto was published. • The paper defined the purposes of the group and includes citations of the influences on Surrealism, and examples of Surrealist works
Max Ernst Oedipus Rex, 1922 Oil on canvas 93 x 102 cm Private collection, Paris
Sigmund Freud • Sigmund Freud was an Austrian psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. • Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind. • Freud called dreams the "royal road to the unconscious". • This meant that dreams illustrate the "logic" of the unconscious mind. • Influenced by the theories of Sigmund Freud , the images found in surrealist works are as confusing and startling as those of dreams.
André Breton André Breton became known as the Pope of Surrealism, and was responsible for writing "The Manifestos of Surrealism" (1924) Drawing heavily on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud, Breton saw the unconscious as the wellspring of the imagination. According to Breton, Surrealism was a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely, that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in "an absolute reality, a surreality.” André Breton Sigmund Freud
Automatic Writing • Automatic writing is the process or production of writing material that does not come from the conscious thoughts of the writer. • Practitioners say that the writer's hand forms the message, with the person being unaware of what will be written. • In automatic drawing, the hand is allowed to move 'randomly' across the paper. • Automatic drawing was developed by the surrealists, as a means of expressing the subconscious. André Masson. Automatic Drawing. (1924). Ink on paper, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Joan Miró. Harlequin's Carnival. 1924-25. Oil on canvas. 66 x 93 cm. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA.
René Magritte “The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe),” 1929 Oil on canvas, 25 3/8 x 37”.
Salvador Dali Persistence of Memory, 1931 Oil on canvas, 24 cm × 33 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York City