Hey! For September, I decided to dive into surrealism, since I think it’s kind of surreal that 2021 is ⅔ over! But also, surrealism is incredibly interesting and quite a cool art form! Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

What is Surrealism? | A Short History

According to Oxford Languages, surrealism is a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images. In other words, it was an artistic movement exploring how the mind works and the way we think, supporting things that were usually thought to be irrational, poetic, and revolutionary. The base concept of surrealism is combining your dream imagery with imagery from reality, creating pieces that balance rational visions and the unconscious, and challenging norms to find freedom – sometimes even political freedom among other types. It depicts comparisons of distant reality to stimulate our unconscious mind through imagery.

A cultural movement, surrealism was developed in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and was largely influenced by Dada (an art movement formed during the First World War in Zurich in negative reaction to the horrors and folly of the war – tate.org). French avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire had written and directed a play in 1903 in which the word surrealist was first invented. However, André Breton in his Surrealist Manifesto (1924), defined surrealism as: 

“pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express…the real functioning of thought.”

Artists found inspiration from previous civilizations’ art, legends, mysticism, and indigenous art. Artists often used automatic drawing, a method where the artists suppress the conscious mind and let the subconscious mind take over.

Famous Surrealist Artists

  1. Salvador Dali
    • He was an artist/painter and printmaker.
    • He participated in several art movements including surrealism and expressionism, among others.
    • One of his most recognized pieces is the painting with melting clocks, The Persistence of Memory (1931).
    • He explored subconscious imagery with works of art had amazing technical skill, precise draftsmanship, and the striking and bizarre images.
  2. Pablo Picasso
    • He was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and theatre designer who also was a part of multiple art movements including surrealism, cubism, and expressionism, among others.
    • His full name is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso
    • Some of his most famous works are Guernica (1937), Self-Portrait (1901), and The Weeping Woman (1937)
    • Some of his quotes include: “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” and “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
  3. Frida Kahlo
    • She was a Mexican painter who created numerous portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by her Mexican surroundings.
    • Some of the art movements she participated in include surrealism, modern art, and naturalism.
    • After a catching polio at 6, and then a tragic bus accident at 18 resulting in multiple breaks and fractures leaving her bed-ridden, she started painting to kill time and alleviate the pain.
    • Some of her quotes include “I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best” and “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

Some examples of surrealism:

I personally think this art movement is so cool and the finished products are quite interesting. This taps into our subconscious and it creates marvelous works of art.

That concludes what I have for this month! If you like this blog, drop a like, and check out our other blogs! Don’t forget to subscribe! Let me know in the comments if you are also fascinated by surrealism and enjoy making surrealist art! 

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