Magritte and Dali
Fantastical visual imagery from the
No intention of making the work logically
Founded by Andre Breton in 1924, it was a
primarily European movement
Attracted many members of the Dada
Surrealism was deeply influenced
by the work of Freud and Jung.
The Dadaists focused on chaos.
All writing and art was based on stream
They were against beauty and art after
the destruction of World War 1.
They tried to create anti-art.
In the Beginning
Surrealism is closely related to some forms of abstract art. They
shared similar origins, but they split on their interpretation of
what those origins meant to the art.
At the end of the First War World, Tristan Tzara, leader of the
Dada movement, wanted to attack society through scandal.
He believed that a society that creates the monstrosity of war
does not deserve art, so he decided to give it anti-art–not
beauty but ugliness.
With phrases like Dada destroys everything! Tzara wanted to
offend the new world.
However, his intended victims were not insulted at
Instead they thought that this rebellious new
expression opposed, not them but the "old art" and
the "old patrons" of art
In fact, people embraced this "rebellious" new art so
thoroughly that anti-art became Art, the anti-
academy the Academy, the anti-conventionalism the
Convention, and the rebellion through chaotic
images, the status quo.
One group of artists did not embrace this new art that threw
away all which centuries of artists had learned and passed on
about the craft of art.
The Surrealist movement gained momentum after the Dada
It was lead by Andre Breton, a French doctor who had fought in
the trenches during the First World War. The artists in the
movement researched and studied the works of Sigmund Freud
and Carl Jung.
Some of the artists in the group expressed themselves through
abstract art, while others, expressed themselves using
The Surrealist circle was made up of
many of the great artists of the 20th
century, including Max Earnst, Giorgio
de Chiricho, Jean Arp,Man Ray, Joan
Miro, and Rene Magritte.
Salvador Dali, probably the single best-
known Surrealist artist, eventually broke
with the group due to his politics
Belgian surrealist painter. He studied at the
Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. His first
one-man exhibition was in Brussels in 1927.
At that time Magritte had already begun to paint in
the style, closely akin to surrealism, that was
predominant throughout his long career.
A meticulous, skillful technician, he is noted for
works that contain an extraordinary juxtaposition of
ordinary objects or an unusual context that gives
new meaning to familiar things.
This juxtaposition is frequently termed magic
of which Magritte was the prime exponent.
The Red Model
Magritte made masterful fantasies of
everyday objects such as an old pair of
shoes. He made more paintings of this
subject but this was one of his earliest
of shoes turning into feet. He has
meticulously painted the details of the
pebbles on the ground, the dust covered
toes, laces on the boots, and the grain
of the wood fence. Magritte makes
fantasy by painting reality carefully with
The Son of Man
This painting of a green apple floating in
front of the face of a otherwise conventional
man. Magritte said about the painting,
“Everything we see hides another thing, we
always want to see what is hidden by what
we see. There is an interest in that which is
hidden…” Because of the title, one thinks
it may be the apple that was handed to
Adam by Eve that the man is being blinded
by. Adam can’t see beyond the delicious
apple, and we can’t see him. Magritte also
painted a similar painting with an apple and
called it The Great War. Here you’d think
it was nature and many other things
blinding the man from seeing.
Salvador Dali 1904-1989
Spanish painter, writer, and member of the surrealist
movement. He was born in Figueras, Catalonia, and
educated at the School of Fine Arts, Madrid. After 1929 he
became a surrealist, although the leaders of the movement
later denounced Dalí as overly commercial.
Dalí's paintings from this period depict dream imagery and
everyday objects in unexpected forms, such as the famous
limp watches in The Persistence of Memory. Dalí moved to
the United States in 1940, where he remained until 1948. His
later paintings, often on religious themes, are more
classical in style. They include Crucifixion and The
Sacrament of the Last Supper.
Dalí's paintings are characterized by meticulous
draftsmanship and realistic detail, with brilliant
colors heightened by transparent glazes. Dalí
designed and produced surrealist films,
illustrated books, handcrafted jewelry, and
created theatrical sets and costumes. Among his
writings are ballet scenarios and several books,
including The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942)
and Diary of a Genius (1965).
Apparatus and Hand
In this painting Dali creates a strange,
dreamlike scene, dominated by a weird
contraption in the foreground that is part
human, part geometric robot, which Dali
refers to as an apparatus. Perhaps the
apparatus is himself, with an eye, two
thin legs, a cane which is something he
liked to carry, and a painter’s hand
coming out of the top of his head. This is
science fiction as he has made an image
of what could be called a cyborg, part
human, part machine and the unknown.
Persistence of Memory
Painted in 1931, Persistence of Memory expresses the eternal theme of time and the limitation of our
existence with the boundary of time. Perhaps this is why this painting has been reproduced more than
any of his other work. The concern for time, how we use time, where time goes, what time means is
eternal and feels as relevant today than ever. Insects crawling over the watch suggest death and
decay, the never ending cycle with life. Larger than life watches melt over a tree branch, drape a
dead man’s head, and turn the corner of a landscape within this fantastic painting. Dali paints what
seem to be varied dimensions of
time and space within a haunting
landscape of geometry and desert.
Seventy years after this was painted,
scientists theorize that there are at
least ten dimensions of time and
space. Persistence of Memory is
one of Dali’s earliest masterpieces
and most celebrated paintings.