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Surrealism’ Graphics and Art History Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 30th, 2019


Surrealism was a period in art history from the mid-1920s to the late 1930s. Surrealism artists were influenced by psychological and subconscious ideas, which were advanced by various philosophers. These artists were mainly influenced by Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, and poets such as Louis Aragón. They conjured imaginative ideas from surrealist writings and created visual representations out of them that were not easily understood by many people.

These images had a strong element of mystery, and they went beyond human rationality because they represented objects that did not exist physically. Surrealism artists internalized concepts from various published works to create visual objects that showed inner feelings and emotions of artists behind them.

Famous surreal artists used different methods to bring their ideas to life. Their paintings displayed visual objects that seemed not to conform to any social ideals (Caws 28). Surrealism art expresses unique social and political messages that responded to various issues these artists witnessed in their time. This encouraged artists to paint provocative images that were controversial and seemed to rebel against conventional practices observed in many societies.

Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors ‘ is an example of art forms done before the surrealist art whose key meaning was similar to many surrealist paintings. The objects displayed in this art form had a lot of sexual characteristics that seemed to question the sanctity of marriage as a cherished social practice. These visual expressions were a hallmark of surrealism art because it encouraged artists to create their unique works of art.

Surrealist art flourished in an era when artists used their artistic skills to oppose dominant political, religious, and social issues. They challenged the power the elite had amassed as a result of their privileged social status. Therefore, surrealist art was mainly driven by the aspirations of artists who used distorted symbols to create art pieces that withstood the test of time (Caws 34). Surrealist artists relied on their imaginations to create dream-like art forms that defied conventional norms.

Dream Like Attributes

Art designs during the surrealism art period exposed the world to a new type of art. There were many artists who used their artistic license to create different types of art forms whose meanings were not easily understandable. During this period, artists were heavily influenced by liberal attitudes that made them defy logical explanations that sought to define real meanings behind their works.

Surrealist art forms advance the state of an unconscious mind that imagines and creates unique visual shapes. They used free-flowing images which were different from the usual elements of art and design. Most surrealist art forms combined normal shapes and objects with dream-like features that distorted their appearance (Barnes 64). Objects in these art forms portrayed normal occurrences that happen in different societies

Surrealist art forms became prominent after World War I. Many artists used their imaginative skills to denounce various political and social issues that were taking place in Europe and North America. These artists were encouraged to be more rebellious to provoke the attention of citizens to various problems in society.

Their actions showed that they were driven by a free spirit to create art forms that rebelled against dominant systems in society. Art forms made by surrealist artists explored unique concepts that went beyond the scope of human imagination.

They had a lot of mystery, which made them unique because they made people think about different meanings artists were conveying (Barnes 76). Surrealism art period influenced people to use their imagination, creatively to become more creative in what they do. Artists released stunning concepts that provoked endless thoughts in many people.

Elements Displayed

Surrealist artists formed objects that had unique attributes. This made it possible for viewers of these images to relate to them because they were simplistic and displayed unique elements. Surrealist artists made representations through their art pieces whose significance was not limited by time. Many surrealist art forms were illustrative. Therefore, these attributes appealed to many people’s psychological instincts of emptiness and alienation.

These art forms help people understand their inner identities better in a world that does not have any regard for moral considerations. Depictions that were done through surrealistic art were influenced by the Great Depression that severely affected many economies in Europe and North America (Melly 87). Artists captured peoples’ fears due to the uncertainty that surrounded their lives as a result of various problems they were facing.

Surrealism art had a big influence on subsequent art movements in North America and Europe. Surrealist art’s dominance was dealt a blow by the Second World War, which made many artists hide because they feared they were going to be persecuted. Artists had to contend with a hostile political climate which did not favor freedom of expression through art.

This was in sharp contrast to the early 1930s when surrealist art enjoyed a lot of attention from many people. Various artists showcased their works to a cross-section of viewers in exhibition halls in Europe. These exhibits made it possible for people to appreciate the significance of surrealism art whose mysterious attributes confused many people (Melly 92).

Famous Works

Salvador Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ was one of the major surrealist art paintings that depicted the concept of time. This painting combined psychological elements of time with physical images of drooping watches that looked like they had been stretched. The form used for this painting showed solid watch objects that were getting stretched into amorphous shapes with bright background in the horizon (Wintle 45).

The image evoked many feelings related to different issues people go through in their lives. The painting portrayed the contrasting aspects of life where people go through difficulties as well as good times. The concept of time is displayed as an object that endures all hardships and helps human beings go through various stages in life.

Yves Tanguy’s painting ‘Indefinite Divisibility’ portrays several shapeless objects made of up of different components. The painting is a mystery in itself because all objects displayed are illusory and do not represent any physical object that exists in the world. Tanguy’s painting focuses on the imaginative aspects of surrealism, where subconscious ideas are used to represent a normal situation in any given society.

In essence, this work of art shows people need to take time and share their experiences with their friends and families to improve communal relations. His painting captures the essence of surrealism by depicting life to be full of illusions. The painting suggests people are manipulated to believe in specific ideas that are imposed on them by powerful systems.

Works Cited

Barnes, Rachel. The 20th-Century Art Book. London: Phaidon Press, 2001. Print.

Caws, Mary Ann.Surrealist Painters and Poets: An Anthology. Boston: MIT Press, 2001 Print.

Melly, George. Paris and the Surrealists. London: Thames & Hudson, 1991. Print.

Wintle, Justin. Makers of Modern Culture. New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.

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