Understanding Surrealism

The Art of the Subconsious

Definition — Surrealism is an art and cultural movement that emerged in Europe in the 1920s, aiming to express the unconscious mind through illogical and dreamlike scenes.

Origins — Developed in the aftermath of World War I, influenced by Dada, and officially established in 1924 with the publication of the Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton.

Characteristics — Features surprise, unexpected juxtapositions, and non sequitur, with a primary goal of resolving dream and reality into a ‘super-reality’.

Notable Figures — Leaders include André Breton, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, and René Magritte, with contributions from many others in painting, writing, and other media.

From en.wikipedia.org


Founding — Coined by Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917, the term ‘Surrealism’ was officially established in 1924 by André Breton.

Influences — Emerged from the Dada movement and was influenced by Symbolism, Abstract art, and the works of Sigmund Freud.

Surrealist Manifesto — André Breton’s 1924 manifesto marked the official beginning of the Surrealist movement, emphasizing the importance of the unconscious mind.


Element of Surprise — Surrealist works aim to shock viewers with unexpected and irrational imagery.

Juxtapositions — Utilizes the combination of elements not normally found together to create new, often bizarre, meanings.

Non Sequitur — Often lacks a clear, logical progression, challenging traditional narrative structures.

Super-Reality — Seeks to merge dream and reality into a ‘super-reality’, exploring the depths of the unconscious mind.

Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected JUXTAPOSITIONS and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact.


Notable Figures

André Breton — Considered the leader of the Surrealist movement, authored the Surrealist Manifesto.

Max Ernst — Known for his painting ‘The Elephant Celebes’ and his contributions to Surrealist techniques.

Salvador Dalí — Famous for his melting clocks in ‘The Persistence of Memory’, a key figure in Surrealist painting.

René Magritte — Notable for his work ‘The Treachery of Images’, challenging the nature of representation in art.

From en.wikipedia.org

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