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An introduction to the history of surrealism

Sometimes through history, something comes along that changes everything as it has been known thus far.

  • Juxtaposition can be used to show a metaphor or to convey a certain message;
  • Click here to browse the Art History Archive.

The Surrealist art movement combined elements of its predecessors, Dada and cubism, to create something unknown to the art world. The movement was first rejected, but its eccentric ideas and unique techniques paved the way for a new form of art. The Surrealist art movement stemmed from the earlier Dada movement. Dada was a movement in which artists stated their disgust with the war and with life in general.

Art from this movement was often violent and had an attitude of combat or protest.

  • However they did not think the images had a meaning or should try to be interpreted;
  • In 1925 he began to use frottage to express his feelings of fantasy and of the bizarre;
  • His method of psychoanalytic interpretation could be used to bring forth and illuminate the unconscious Surrealism 4167;
  • Its roots were found in Dada, but it was less violent and more artistically based;
  • Though the movement was started to emphasize nonconformity, Picabia declared Dada to be dead in 1922, saying that it had become too organized a movement Leslie 58.

Though the movement was started to emphasize nonconformity, Picabia declared Dada to be dead in 1922, saying that it had become too organized a movement Leslie 58. Despite the fact that it was declared dead, the Dada movement planted the seeds of another, more organized movement. Its roots were found in Dada, but it was less violent and more artistically based. Surrealism was first the work of poets and writers Diehl 131.

The first exhibition of surrealist painting was held in 1925, but its ideas were rejected in Europe Diehl 131. Soon surrealist ideas were given new life and became an influence over young artists in the United Sates and Mexico. The ideas of Surrealism were bold and new to the art world. In other words, the general idea of Surrealism is nonconformity. This nonconformity was not as extreme as that of Dada since surrealism was still considered to be art.

  1. Its automatism, biomorphic shapes, visionary mode, and manipulation of found objects mark the work of artists as different as Ernst, Miro, Magritte, and Dali.
  2. The Surrealist art movement combined elements of its predecessors, Dada and cubism, to create something unknown to the art world.
  3. The latter is the science of painting so as to study the psyche through subconscious art Sanchez 3-5.
  4. The heroic period, 1923-1925.
  5. Click here to browse the Art History Archive.

He believed that true surrealists had no real talent; they just spoke their thoughts as they happened Leslie 61-63. Surrealism used techniques that had never been used in the art world before. Surrealists believed in the innocent eye, that art was created in the unconscious mind Mak 1. Most Surrealists worked with psychology and fantastic visual techniques, basing their art on memories, feelings, and dreams Scholastic 3.

They often used hypnotism and drugs to venture into the dream world, where they looked for unconscious images that were not available in the conscious world. These images were seen as pure art Mak 2. Surrealists strongly embraced the ideas of Sigmund Freud. His method of psychoanalytic interpretation could be used to bring forth and illuminate the unconscious An introduction to the history of surrealism 4167.

Although Surrealists strongly supported the ideas of Freud, Breton visited him in 1921 and left without his support Leslie 61. Freud inspired many Surrealists, but two different interpretations of his ideas lead to two different types of Surrealists, Automatists and Veristic Surrealists.

Automatists focused their work more on feeling and were less investigative. However they did not think the images had a meaning or should try to be interpreted. Automatists thought that abstract art was the only way to convey images of the subconscious, and that a lack of form was a way to rebel against traditional art. In this way they were much like Dadaists.

On the other side Veristic Surrealists believed subconscious images did have meaning.

  1. Though many Surrealist artists used traditional means of painting, they developed techniques to bring metaphor and meaning into their work.
  2. Veristic Surrealists also believed that the language of the subconscious world was in the form of image.
  3. Surrealists believed in the innocent eye, that art was created in the unconscious mind Mak 1.

They felt that these images were a metaphor that, if studied, could enable the world to be understood. Veristic Surrealists also believed that the language of the subconscious world was in the form of image. While their work may look similar, Automatists only see art where Veristic Surrealists see meaning Sanchez 2-5. Surrealism drew elements from Cubism and Expressionism, and used some of the same techniques from the Dada movement Leslie 4.

Nonetheless there were certain techniques and devices that were characteristic to Surrealist art. A very common Surrealist technique is the juxtaposition of objects that would typically not be together in a certain situation or together at all.

The history of surrealism

Juxtaposition can be used to show a metaphor or to convey a certain message. Many surrealist artists painted very realistically but had one displaced object that changed the painting entirely. Stencils and rubbings were used to utilize these images Leslie 71.

An additional characteristic of Surrealist art is the fact that many pieces have very obvious or simple titles stating the subject matter simply de la Croix 709.

As a poster and wallpaper designer, he learned to paint realistically. His art frequently depicted images of everyday life; however, he creatively changed some aspects to give his work certain meaning. Magritte was able to turn dull images into extraordinary ones. Many of his paintings had sinister and violent meanings, and the importance of surroundings was often stressed Scholastic 2-7.

Although many Surrealist painters studied traditional art, Max Ernst was a self-taught painter.

  • Paul Claudel -- Declaration of January 27, 1925 -- 1926;
  • Veristic Surrealists also believed that the language of the subconscious world was in the form of image;
  • Its roots were found in Dada, but it was less violent and more artistically based;
  • Though the movement was started to emphasize nonconformity, Picabia declared Dada to be dead in 1922, saying that it had become too organized a movement Leslie 58;
  • These images were seen as pure art Mak 2;
  • The war -- The poets in the war -- Dada -- The stimulators of surrealism -- Part two:

He felt that true subconscious art was the images in the minds of those thought to be insane. He studied philosophy and psychiatry and even visited an asylum to experience those images first hand Leslie 69. His paintings repeatedly used the vegetable, the animal, the mineral, and the human kingdoms Diehl 132. In 1925 he began to use frottage to express his feelings of fantasy and of the bizarre.

Frottage is a rubbing technique in which the texture of an object is rubbed onto a piece of paper. These rubbings were then arranged into collages Mak 1. Click here to browse the Art History Archive. Salvador Dali, one of the most famous Surrealist artists, was known for his wild art and a public personality to match. He used multiple symbolic images to suggest his subconscious.

His paintings were odd, influenced by his dreams and his fear of sex Mak 2. This fear was present in many of his works, which an introduction to the history of surrealism sexual and violent images. He had two methods for creating art: In the former, the artist freezes and interprets his dreams through art. The latter is the science of painting so as to study the psyche through subconscious art Sanchez 3-5.

Dali rejected induced sleep used by other artists and termed his own style to be the paranoiac-critical method Surrealism 4171. Even though he is one of the best know surrealist artists, in 1938 Dali dissociated himself from Surrealism and turned to Classicism. The Surrealist art movement opened the doors to a style of art that the world had never before seen.

Odd techniques were used to paint and interpret images of the subconscious and the dream world. Though many Surrealist artists used traditional means of painting, they developed techniques to bring metaphor and meaning into their work.

The obvious may have been stated but the meaning to Surrealist art was symbolic and often open to interpretation. This style and technique received much rejection by the art world but was eventually accepted and paved the way for other expressive forms of art. Art Through the Ages. A Treasury of Painting Throughout the World.

Essentials

Gregory, Clive and Sue Lyon. The Dream of Revolution. The Art of Self Discovery.