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Surrealism 20th Century Art Movements Essay

1637 words - 7 pages

Surrealism, n. Twentieth century movement in art and literature purporting to express the subconscious mind by images etc. in sequences or associations such as may occur in dreams - The Concise English Dictionary.Surrealism was started in 1924 in France by Andre Breton and was officially declared to be over in 1941. Thus, Surrealism existed between World War I and II and this was a major influence to the movement. Surrealism was fuelled by the Dada movement, which focused on anti-art before World War I. Surrealism, however focused on positive expression. Surrealism was seen by the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924 as "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""Surrealism can be divided into two distinctly separate groups, Pure Fantasy and Super Realism. Pure Fantasy focuses on unrealistic images that have originated from chance. These forms are generally close to abstraction and make use of non-local colour. Super Realism, however, focuses on recognisable scenes that are combined in a dreamlike manner. The forms are in a distorted context and are generally in great detail.Surrealists aimed at liberating the thoughts of man from the rationality of their conscious minds by creating a subconscious replica from dreams. They also wanted to shock the viewer and viewed the present man as "psychology rather than anatomy." Surrealists artists wanted to confuse reality with the unexpected and unrelated aspects of chance.Salvador Dali grew up in Spain, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and was primarily involved with the art movements Cubism and Futurism, his passion lying in Surrealism. Dali's Surrealist art flourished from 1929, when he focused on his "paranoiac-critical" method of converting his dreams from his subconscious mind onto canvas. Dali made use of lifeless forms, double-sided figures and erotic characteristics, all envisaged in his mind. Dali also introduced monsters and haunting images into his artworks. It was in 1939, when Dali's fascination for Hitler was against the ethics of Surrealism, that Dali returned to the Classical approach to painting, although an element of Surrealism was always insinuated in his works.In Dali's Persistence of Memory, painted in 1931, Dali expresses real, familiar clocks melting in a dream-like manner. The clocks are painted in local colour and very realistically. This plays tricks with the viewers mind as surely the hard, metallic, mechanically produced clocks can not melt. On one of the clocks, red ants are swarming over the orange surface, seemingly feeding off it as though it was rotting organic material. The three other watches present, are all draped over different items, melting. In the background, a very idealistic landscape is present, although painted in earthen hues. The middle and foreground appears to be in shadow which lightens...

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