Surrealism Art Movement
France 1925 - 1985
Surrealism Art Movement, History, Surrealist Paintings & Artists.
The Surrealism Art Movement was born in Paris and theorized by Andre Breton, Surrealism was a new art movement defined by its exploration of the innermost recesses of the psyche. The Surrealist painter let his brush flow over the canvas, allowing his deepest impulses and desires to reveal themselves, in the Freudian processes of “automatic writing”. The works of Joan Miro and Andre Masson are good examples of this process. A more figurative current was represented by Balthus, Dali, and Delvaux who, influenced by Metaphysical painting, created absurd, disturbing compositions with objects taken from everyday life. Surrealism oil paintings encompassed a few telltale signs. The titles are misleading, never describing the subject that is always represented. Legible symbols of the illusion and ambiguity of the painting itself. A betrayal of reality, a parallel universe where nothing is as it seems. And finally, when people began to suffer from a loss of individual identity and a monotonous banality of everyday life, Surrealism came along to add a new thought provoking excitement to the world with a worldwide art movement of pure fantasy.
Art that is fun to pick apart and seek hidden elements.
Metaphysical, the term taken from ancient Greek, means beyond real things. Metaphysical paintings portray evocative, unreal situations, based on the improbable, elusive, and ambiguous combinations of objects, landscapes, light, and perspective. This type of painting emerged from a chance meeting during World War 1 in a military hospital in Ferrera, Italy where Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Savinino, Carlo Carra and Filippo De Pisis were all patients at the same time. This meeting led to the development of an artistic and intellectual movement that sought to represent situations of stillness and reflection, in direct opposition to the dynamic and sometimes incoherent activism of the Futurists.
The Dada movement originated in 1916 in Zurich, where many artists and intellectuals had sought refuge during the war. Dada proposed a provocative, total defiance of all the values and models, in the name of the completely unrestrained, creative freedom led by Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades. The movement spread throughout Europe, from Paris to Berlin, and to the United States, adopting a wide variety of languages and means of expression. Nonetheless, by 1922, it was already in decline. Many artists, slipped into Surrealism, the grand finale of the avant-garde era.
Art criticism is still divided today about whether Rene Magritte should be considered “merely” an extraordinary, if cold, creator of images or one of the most representative masters of the twentieth-century art history. The public has no doubt. The expressive power of Magritte's images, so simple to recognize, but impossible to understand, has made him one of the best-loved, most reproduced, and well-known painters of all time.
After working in advertising (something reflected in all his work) Magritte discovered the Metaphysical paintings of de Chirico, which proved to be a great revelation. From then on, he portrayed impossible juxtapositions of objects, landscapes, and people, painted with absolute, still clarity. He moved to Paris and befriended Dali, participating in the Surrealist movement and even writing articles and essays. During this period, Magritte continued to observe recent masters like Seurat, as well as masters, from the fifteenth-century Italian painting. By the time he returned to Brussels in 1930 his art style, based on oppositions and enigmatic presence, was consolidated, except for a short period when he painted in the manner of Renoir.
Surrealism inspired other art movements, literature, and philosophy and was one of the foundations of Modernism. Two famous artists that were centuries ahead of their time, and can be considered as Surrealists are Hieronymus Bosch and Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Today, Surrealistic works are fun to pick apart and to seek hidden elements and meaning in. In their day, they were somewhat unnerving and forced new perspectives that hadn’t been dealt with.
Surrealism artists: Jean Arp, Hans Bellmer, Leonora Carrington, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Maurits Cornelius Escher, Alberto Giacometti, George Grosz, Frida Kahlo, Mati Klarwein, Roberto Matta, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Kay Sage, Yves Tanguy, Pavel Thelitchew