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Famous Surrealist Artists And Their Paintings
Dawit Abeza
Famous Surrealist Artists And Their Paintings

Famous Surrealist Artists And Their Paintings

Famous Surrealist Artists

Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dal was a Surrealist painter and printmaker from Spain who was known for his studies with subconscious images. Dal absorbed a wide range of artistic forms and shown exceptional technical skill as a painter.

However, it was not until the late 1920s that he discovered Sigmund Freud's writings on the erotic significance of subconscious imagery, and his affiliation with the Paris Surrealists, a group of artists and writers who sought to establish the "greater reality" of the human subconscious over reason, that he developed his mature artistic style. Dal began inducing hallucinatory situations in himself to bring forth images from his subconscious mind, a process he called "paranoiac crucial."

Dal's painting technique grew at a breakneck pace once he discovered that method, and from 1929 to 1937, he produced the paintings that established him as the world's most well-known Surrealist artist. He showed a weird and nonsensical dream world in which everyday items are juxtaposed, twisted, or somehow metamorphosed.

Dal depicted those objects in painstakingly detailed, even excruciatingly precise detail, and frequently set them in stark, sunny surroundings evoking his Catalan country. The Persistence of Memory (1931), in which limp melting watches repose in an eerily tranquil environment, is perhaps the most renowned of such perplexing photographs.

The Persistence of Memory

The Persistence of Memory

The Persistence of Memory (1931) is one of Surrealism's most iconic and identifiable works. The little canvas (24x33 cm) is sometimes referred to as "Melting Clocks," "The Soft Watches," and "The Melting Watches" in popular culture.

Watches, solid and hard items appear mysteriously limp and melting in the bleak environment in the artwork, which shows a dream world in which ordinary objects are twisted and exhibited peculiarly and irrationally.

Dal meticulously and realistically paints his fantasy vision, seamlessly integrating the real with the imagined to "systemize uncertainty and thus help invalidate entirely the realm of reality." When asked about the sagging timepieces, the artist equated their softness to that of overripe cheese, describing them as "the camembert of time."

The gold watch on the left, which is invaded by ants, epitomizes the sense of rot and decay. Ants, a recurring motif throughout Dal's work, are typically associated with decay and death. He set the setting in a bleak terrain that was most likely influenced by the Catalan shore, where he grew up.

The influence of the Catalan countryside is also seen in another aspect of the painting: the artist enters the scene as a bizarre squishy creature in the painting's center.

René Magritte

René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist painter who became famous for his funny and thought-provoking works. His work is notable for challenging onlookers' preconceptions of reality by showing everyday objects in strange settings.

Pop art, minimalist art, and conceptual art have all been impacted by his artwork. Magritte has been compared to pop artists for his use of basic graphic and everyday imagery. Although Magritte himself denied the link, his effect on the evolution of pop art has been universally acknowledged.

Surrealism in Magritte's approach is more figurative than in the "automatic" style of artists like Joan Miró. Magritte's goal to produce poetic images is linked to his use of everyday materials in unusual settings.

The Treachery of Images

The Treachery of Images

When Magritte was 30 years old, he painted The Treachery of Images. A pipe is depicted in the illustration. "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (French for "This is not a pipe") is painted beneath it by Magritte. The picture depicts a pipe rather than a pipe itself. Out of the usual concept that objects correlate to words and images, this Surrealist masterwork creates a three-way paradox.

The Treachery of Images is part of Magritte's late-twentieth-century sequence of word-image paintings. He blended visuals and text in a style that was influenced by both children's books and Magritte's early commercial career. In an illustrated essay titled Words and Images, the artist outlined his reasons for word-image paintings.

André Breton

André Breton was a well-known French writer and artist who contributed to the development of Surrealism. He is credited with inventing automatism, which is the spontaneous act of writing, drawing, or painting to explicate unconscious cognition.

He once claimed, "Surrealism is built on the belief in the omnipotence of dreams, in the undirected play of thinking." Breton was born in Tinchebray, France, on February 19, 1896, and briefly worked as a doctor before coming to Paris in the early 1920s, where he immediately became part of the city's avant-garde milieu. He produced the Manifeste du surréalisme in 1924, inspired by Sigmund Freud's teachings, in which he championed unfettered expression outside the limitations of reason and morality.

The manifesto influenced peers like Wifredo Lam and Max Ernst right away, and would subsequently inspire Jackson Pollock's work. Breton joined the French Communist Party in the late 1920s and became a lifelong Marxist committed to combating the development of fascism.

Breton fled France after World War II and spent several years in the United States, where he produced a breakthrough exhibition of Surrealist art at Yale University. Breton returned to Paris after the war, where he continued to write poetry and articles. On September 28, 1966, he died in Paris, France, at the age of 70.

Poeme (1924)

Poeme (1924)

This is an early Surrealist collage that incorporates text and image. This poem was written the same year that Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto. Breton's rising trust in journalism as a forceful artistic form is revealed in this piece, which uses newspaper and magazine clipping materials as its basis.

The writing is absurdist, and it creates a logic that would be incomprehensible to a reader attempting to comprehend it in regular English.

Frida Kahlo

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón was a Mexican painter best known for her portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by Mexico's natural and cultural heritage.

She used a naive folk painting style to investigate problems of identity, postcolonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society, inspired by the country's popular culture. Her paintings were frequently autobiographical and blended reality and imagination. Kahlo was a surrealist or magical realism, as well as a member of the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which aimed to create a Mexican identity.

She is well-known for her paintings depicting her chronic agony. Kahlo spent most of her childhood and adult life at La Casa Azul, her family's home in Coyoacán, which is now open to the public as the Frida Kahlo Museum. She was born to a German father and a mestiza mother.

Despite having been afflicted by polio as a kid, Kahlo was a brilliant student on her way to medical school until she was killed in a bus accident when she was 18 years old, causing her permanent suffering and medical difficulties. During her recuperation, she rekindled her love in art from childhood, to become an artist.

The Two Fridas

The Two Fridas

Shortly after her divorce from Diego Rivera, she painted this painting. Frida's two personas are seen in this portrait. The classic Frida in Tehuana attire, with a broken heart, sits next to a free-spirited, modern Frida.

Frida wrote about this artwork in her diary, claiming that it was inspired by a reminiscence of an imaginary childhood acquaintance. She later stated that it was an expression of her despair and loneliness as a result of her separation from Diego.

The two Fridas are holding hands in this picture. Both have visible hearts, with the classic Frida's heart being slashed and torn open. The major artery, which runs from the torn heart to the traditional Frida's right hand, is severed by surgical pincers held in the traditional Frida's lap.

Her white dress is flowing with blood, and she is on the verge of passing out. Frida's inner torment may be reflected in the stormy sky with disturbed clouds.

Max Ernst

Max Ernst was a talented artist who was a key figure in the Dada and surrealist movements. He had no formal artistic training, but his experimental approach to the creation of art led to the invention of frottage—a technique in which pencil rubbings of objects are used as a source of images—and grattage, a similar technique in which paint is scraped across the canvas to reveal the imprints of the objects placed beneath.

In addition, he is known for his collage books. Max Ernst, a crucial member of the first Dada and subsequently Surrealism in Europe in the 1910s and 1920s, employed a range of mediums to give visual expression to both personal memory and collective myth, including painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, and numerous unusual drawing approaches.

He made the unbelievable believable by mixing illusionistic technique with cut-and-paste reasoning, conveying mental disjunctions and societal upheavals with unnerving precision.

Ernst is most closely identified with Surrealism, a literary and artistic movement that favored the irrational and unconscious over order and reason in Paris in the 1920s. His creation of frottage, a technique of laying paper over a textured substance, such as wood grain or metal mesh, then rubbing it with a pencil or crayon to generate diverse effects, was a significant contribution to this movement.

The Elephant Celebes

The Elephant Celebes

 Max Ernst's first huge painting, The Elephant Celebes, was painted in Cologne in 1921. It was purchased soon after completion by his friend, poet Paul Eluard, and eventually passed to Sir Roland Penrose, who owned it until 1975, when he donated it to the Institute of Contemporary Arts for sale.

Ernst has used his former university studies in psychology and philosophy, during which he got acquainted with Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud's books, to offer the framework for a pictorial investigation of the irrational subconscious in this painting. Although no prior collages or sketches were prepared for it, this painting came straight out of Ernst's use of collage from 1919 onwards to produce odd combinations of images. The painting's concept emerged spontaneously on the canvas, with very minor changes as it developed.

The title refers to a boiler-like monster, which, like the rest of the picture, is exceedingly ambiguous. It features a horned head with presumably blind eyes, but a pair of protruding tusks on the left suggests the presence of a second head (or perhaps the true head?) on the other side. Its neck appears to be made up of a lengthy snake-like coil that emerges from a hole in the upper half, with a vividly colored construction on top that contains a strange eye.

It appears to be standing in a huge open space, but there are signs that it is also entrenched in a solid background, with two fish swimming in the sky above. Three upright items surround it, and a headless mannequin figure with a raised arm appears to be calling the monster towards it in the bottom corner.

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