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Surrealism Essay


“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.”

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– Andre Breton

Surrealism was a movement in visual art and literature that took place in Europe between the first and second world wars after the Dada movement. It was developed in 1924 by artist, Andre Breton. It was a reaction against “rationalism” and the culture and politics in Europe at that time. It was a way to portray fantasy and reality in the same work of art combined. Dreams were often used as a model of inspiration, and many followers believed in the automatism theory. Automatism was seen as the best way to reveal and express ones unconscious and this was viewed as the best and truest way to do art. It was a way to combine rational and irrational thinking and be completely free in ones thinking and expression in art without the boundaries and reason and reality.

The idea of an innocent childlike approach to art was also used. Surrealistic artists felt children’s art was more real than adult art because it hadn’t been tainted with repression and other influences. Like romanticism and transcendentalism in literature imagination and feelings were taken over reason and scientific fact. But mostly surrealism was a combination of both what was existent and what was not. Surrealistic artists saw an object and created art out of it because that object inspired feelings which lead it to be transformed.

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This freestyle of painting was lead by artists like Max Ernest, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. A common technique that can be recognized in this type of painting in frottage or rubbing. Common mediums were used, and the ordinary subject matter was altered and distorted.

Here are 3 examples of surrealistic paintings by Rene Magritte, the first is called La Condition Humaine, the second L’art de Vivre and the third The lovers I.

I find surrealism art extremely fascinating. I think it does the most important thing art can do, make you think! It is not so much it beauty that makes it what is it is like other types of artwork but its ability to make you question what is really there and really get into the work of art. They’re often too seems to be a message in most of the pieces as well which also makes you wonder. It seems more thoughtful than other works of art. Unlike realistic art, which may be just simply looked at and copied, in surrealistic art a message is conveyed. I have a higher appreciation for surrealistic art compared to other types of art because it really makes me stop and think about the piece.

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