Art History: The Surrealist Movement

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The Surrealist movement first appeared in the early 1920s, and has shaped the course of art history significantly. The goal that many Surrealists share is to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality.” In other words, the purpose of Surrealism is to portray the imagination by revealing ideas and images from the unconscious mind. The movement occurred just after World War One, when many people were still coping with the grief and devastation that the war had brought. Many European countries were severely affected by the war as many economies were suffering a Depression. During this time, the Surrealists focused their energy on escaping from the devastation that surrounded…show more content…
He attended a medical school where he took interest into the study of mental illness. Breton’s influences include the likes of Symbolists poets such as Arthur Rimbaud and the theories of Karl Marx. Various artists and critics have praised his ability to bring diverse artists together by printed matter and curatorial pursuits. Furthermore, he encouraged free expression and the release of the subconscious. Surrealism is defined by Breton in his book ‘Manifesto of Surrealism’ (1924). Within this book, he states that the movement’s defining principle was “psychic automatism” meaning that thought derived from “any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.” Overall, the main intention of ‘Manifesto of Surrealism’ is to escape both the past and everyday reality. Breton’s ideas and theories have influenced artists within the modern arts to incorporate his work within their own art, expanding and defining new ideas of…show more content…
His unique ideas and techniques have influenced numerous Surrealist artists, both past and present. (SUCH AS?) Dali was chosen to design the opening image of the second ‘Surrealist Manifesto’, published in 1930 and around this time, Dali was developing his own idea about Surrealism. Hi ideas were expressed through his book called ‘The Visible Woman’ (1930). Within this book, he wrote that he felt Surrealist artists should “depict a kind of madness or fever in which a thing could look like one thing one moment and like another the next.” To achieve this, several Dali paintings used these ‘double’ images to confuse and disturb people looking at them. An example of where this can be seen within his work is in one of his most prominent pieces of artwork ‘The Persistent of Memory’. This image depicts a watch flopping over what appears to be a strange, paled-coloured rock. Observing the image more closely, nonetheless, it could be suggested that the image is a clear representation of Dali’s personality traits. It is important to remember that his paranoia and anxiety are traits that various people remember him by. I think that this piece could be emphasising some of his character traits in that he is paranoid and anxious about time quickly passing away. Perhaps this was something that Dali was particularly concerned about when growing older. I am intrigued by this piece by Dali as it creates
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