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ART HISTORY 4450 Surrealism.

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1 ART HISTORY 4450 Surrealism

2 “Pittura Metafisica” deChirico (1888-1978) The Child’s Brain (1914)
subject: self-portrait theme: “metaphysical” to destabilize meaning of everyday objects by making them symbols of fear alienation uncertainty

3 Surrealism de Chirico (cont.) Ariadne (1913)
motifs: childhood memory of Turin (Italy) architectural settings towers piazza trains light/shadow: Nietzsche hidden realities seen in strange juxtapositions long shadows cast by setting sun into large open city squares & public monuments

4 Surrealism de Chirico (cont.) Mystery & Melancholy of a Street (1914)
theme: isolation & sense of foreboding composition: dynamic color: limited range light/shadow: chiaroscuro perspective: linear & aerial Mannerist exaggerations bizarre spatial constructions

5 Surrealism de Chirico (cont.) Great Metaphysician (1917)
setting: Turin background architecture piazza central figure: mannequin Cubist assemblage urban monument scale: deliberately disproportionate light/shadow: Nietzschian

6 Surrealism Surrealism (c. 1919/24-45)
relation to de Chirico’s “Picturra Metaphysica” when Surrealists first discovered him, saw him as “a fixed point” became “a metaphysical or mystic rope to be placed afterwards round our necks” (Breton) represented in every number of La Révolution Surréaliste, but article devoted to him by Breton in June 1926 issue passed a crushing judgment on him due to perceived shift in style post-1919 declared de Chirico unworthy of the “marvels” of his metaphysical period

7 Surrealism Surrealism (cont.) definition: 1924
“Surrealism rests in the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of association neglected heretofore; in the omnipotence of the dream” definition: Breton’s Second Manifesto of Surrealism (1930) “… a certain state of mind from which life and death, the real and the imaginary, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, height and depth, are no longer perceived as contradictory”

8 Surrealism context: political André Breton’s lecture (June 1934)
anti-Fascist (re: Hitler & Mussolini) “role of fascism to re-establish for the time being the tottering supremacy of finance-capital” anti-bourgeois & critical of capitalist society “hypocrisy & cynicism have now lost all sense of proportion & are becoming more outrageous…” aim: “to detach the intellectual creator from illusions with which bourgeois society has sought to surround him”

9 Surrealism process: “automatism” definition: Breton
intended to express, verbally, in writing, or by other means, the real process of thought absence of all control exercised by the reason outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations “a monologue poured out as rapidly as possible, over which the subject's critical faculty has no control” distinguished by high degree of immediate absurdity

10 Surrealism context: Freudian psychology (c. 1895)
Surrealists preoccupied w/ Freud’s methods of investigation Freud distinguishes different levels of consciousness, including the unconscious: repository for traumatic repressed memories; source of anxiety-provoking drives socially or ethically unacceptable to the individual manifested in dreams relation to painting: “sublimation” energy invested in sexual impulses shifts to pursuit of socially valuable achievements

11 Surrealism context: gender issues
women important to the Surrealists as muses & lovers inherited late 19C view polarized view: embraced both creative & subversive powers of the love instinct rejected popular image of women during 1920s as an independent, often androgynous, being who fled stifling domesticity of late Victorian culture Breton Freud’s erotic desire & “pleasure principle” Sade’s revolutionary eroticism reintegration of male & female principles

12 Surrealism Max Ernst definition: "Beyond Painting" (1936)
“One rainy day in 1919, happening to be in a town on the banks of the Rhine, I was struck by the way my excited gaze became obsessed with the pages of an illustrated catalogue showing objects designed for anthropological, microscopic, psychological, mineralogical and palaeontological demonstrtions. There I found brought together such disparate elements of figuration that the sheer absurdity of this assemblage caused a sudden intensification of my visionary faculties and brought forth a hallucinating succession of contradictory images, double, triple and multiple images overlaying each other with the persistence and rapidity peculiar to love memories and the visions of half-sleep."

13 Surrealism Ernst (cont.) Elephant of Celebes (1921)
theme: scatological long hose --> urinate holes for excrement figure: monstrous crafted from various inanimate objects landscape: bareness mixed w/ absurdity of flying fish forms iconography: metaphysical e.g., mannequin

14 Surrealism Ernst (1891-1976) Oedipus Rex (1922) subject: Freudian
loving & hostile wishes children experience towards parents at height of phallic phase theme: sadism style: illusionistic scale: disjointed architecture: dislocated

15 Surrealism Ernst (cont.)
Two Children Threatened by a Nightingale (c. 1924) theme: childhood fears & anxiety produced by dreams technique: tromp l’oeil visual pun

16 Surrealism Max Ernst (cont.) The Virgin Spanking the Christ (1926)
aim: to destroy all myths about art that for centuries have permitted economic exploitation of painting, sculpture, literature, etc. subject: voyeurism & masochism forms: derived from Parmigianino’s Mannerist Madonna w/a Long Neck (c. 1525)


18 Ernst’s Eye of Silence (1943-44)

19 Surrealism Rene Magritte (1898-1967) nationality: Belgian
style: illusionistic; deliberate literalism subject: “preconsciousness” the state before and during waking up did not draw on hallucinations, dreams, occult phenomena, etc. method: disjunction between context, size, or juxtaposition of objects effect: simplicity is suspect

20 Magritte’s False Mirror (1926)

21 Magritte’s The Murderer Threatened (1927)

22 Surrealism Magritte (cont.) Rape (1934) medium: drawing
theme: sadistic aggression subject: relate to fear produced by Freud’s perception of women as harbinger of death & destruction facial features: witty sexualized re- formulation

23 Surrealism Magritte (cont.) Human Condition (1935)
theme: artistic creation subject: perception, eternity & ambiguity forms: illusionistic strategy: wit/humor significance: absence of muse

24 Magritte’s Golconde (1953)

25 Surrealism Dalí (1904-89) style: illusionistic
training: studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (Madrid) mastered academic techniques expelled for indiscipline in 1923

26 Surrealism Dali (cont.) method: “paranoiac-critical”
“… it will be possible (simultaneously with automatism and other passive states) to systematize confusion and thus to help to discredit completely the world of reality.” “uninterrupted becoming” the ultra-confusing activity rising out of the obsessing idea allows the paranoiac who is the witness to consider the images of the external world unstable and transitory, or suspect

27 Surrealism Dalí (cont.) The Persistence of Memory (1931)
subject: landscape theme: decay also relate to current scientific speculations about universe environment: extraordinary universe shapes/figures: distorted

28 Surrealism Dalí (cont.) Premonition of Civil War (1936)
political sympathies: fascination for Hitler relations w/ Surrealists strained c. 1934 break came when Dali supported Spanish dictator, Franco, in 1939

29 Surrealism Dalí (cont.) Crucifixion (1954) relate to Renaissance:
figure along CVA aerial & linear persp. naturalistic drapery, shadows, musculature variance from Renaissance floating forms misplaced nails & absence of wounds figures’ scale reversed viewer deprived of C’s human emotion

30 Surrealism Miró (1893-1983) Dutch Interior (1928)
aim: to cast viewer adrift in one’s own unconscious mind subject: woman as muse color: vibrant light/shadow: absent forms: abstract spatial order: compressed

31 Miro’s Carnival of the Harlequin (1925)


33 Miró’s Dog Barking at the Moon (c. 1930)

34 Miró’s Still-life with Old Shoe (1937)

35 Surrealism Yves Tanguy biography: French-born American painter
originally a merchant seaman impelled to take up painting after seeing pictures by de Chirico joined Surrealist group in 1925 emigrated to USA in 1939 where he lived for the rest of his life married American Surrealist painter Kay Sage in 1940

36 Surrealism Tanguy (cont.) Indefinite Divisibility (1942)
style: illusionistic scrupulous technique reminiscent of Dalí setting: spectral dream- space forms: highly distinctive half marine and half lunar landscapes amorphous nameless objects light/shadow: chiaroscuro

37 Exercises

38 IMAGE INDEX Slide 2: DE CHIRICO, Giorgio. The Child’s Brain (1914), Oil on canvas, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweeden Slide 3: DE CHIRICO, Giorgio. Ariadne (1913), Oil and graphite on canvas, 53 3/8 x 71 in., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Slide 4: DE CHIRICO, Giorgio. Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (1914), Oil on canvas, Private Collection. Slide 5: DE CHIRICO, Giorgio. The Great Metaphysician (1917).

39 IMAGE INDEX Slide 13: ERNST, Max. The Elephant of Celebes (1921), oil on canvas, 4’ 1” x 3’ 6”, Tate Gallery, London. Slide 14: ERNST, Max. Oedipus Rex (1922), Oil on canvas, 93 x 102 cm., Private collection, Paris. Slide 15: ERNST, Max. Two Children Threatened by a Nightingale (c. 1924). Slide 16: ERNST, Max. The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child before Three Witnesses: Andre Breton, Paul Eluard, and the Painter (1926), Oil on canvas, 196 x 130 cm., Museum Ludwig, Cologne (Germany).

40 IMAGE INDEX Slide 17: (Left) ERNST’s Surrealist The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child (c. 1925); and (right) PARMIGIANINO’s Mannerist Madonna with the Long Neck (c. 1525). Slide 18: ERNST, Max. The Eye of Silence ( ), Oil on canvas, 42 1/2 x 55 1/2 in., Washington University Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO. Slide 20: MAGRITTE, Rene. The False Mirror (1926). Slide 21: MAGRITTE. The Menaced Assassin (1927), Oil on canvas, 59 1/4 x 76 7/8 in., The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

41 IMAGE INDEX Slide 22: MAGRITTE, Rene. Rape (1934).
Slide 23: MAGRITTE, Rene. Human Condition (1935). Slide 24: MAGRITTE, Rene. Golconde (1953), Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 39 1/2 in., The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas. Slide 25: MAN RAY. Salvador Dali (1929), photograph. Slide 27: DALI. The Persistence of Memory (1931), oil on canvas, 9 1/2” x 13”, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

42 IMAGE INDEX Slide 28: DALI. Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War (1936), Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 39 in., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Slide 29: DALI. Crucifixion ('Hypercubic Body') (1954), Oil on canvas, x 124 cm., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Slide 30: MIRO, Joan. Dutch Interior (1928), Oil on canvas, 36 1/8 x 28 3/4 in., Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

43 IMAGE INDEX Slide 31: MIRO. Carnival of Harlequin (1925), Oil on canvas, 66 x 93 cm ., Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y. Slide 32: (Left) Detail from MIRO’s Carnival of Harlequin (1925); and (right) detail from MATISSE’s Harmony in Red (1910). Slide 33: MIRO, Joan. Dog Barking at the Moon (c. 1930). Slide 34: MIRO, Joan. Still-Life with Old Shoe (1937). Slide 36: TANGUY, Yves. Indefinite Divisibility (1942), Oil on canvas, 40 x 35 in., Albright- Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

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