Lesson 33: Surrealist Art

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What You Will Learn:

  • Explore All Art Movements and Periods

    You will learn about all the leading art movements and periods, such as primitive art, ancient Greek art, the Renaissance, Romanticism, Impressionism, Modernism, and contemporary art. There is also a lot of attention to non-Western art, such as Islamic Art, Hindu Art, Chinese Art, Oceanic Art and African Art, and the globalization of the art world.

  • All Famous Artists and Their Masterpieces

    The course covers important artists like Sultan Muhammad, Fan Kuan, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Utagawa Hiroshige, Vincent van Gogh, Ilya Repin, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Banksy and many more, and discusses their most influential works.

  • Cultural and Historical Context

    Our courses also focus on the study of the cultural, social, political, and economic contexts in which artworks are created.

  • Various Media and Techniques

    You will explore different art forms and techniques, such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and digital art.

Introduction to this course:


Human existence inevitably walks hand in hand with chance; it’s a certainty in the life of every person. A portion of life is more or less under one’s control, while another part is not.
The Dadaists focused entirely on chance in their works. They believed that reason, arising from human thinking, should have no influence on artworks, and only chance mattered. This remained a paradox for the Dadaists because every human action was inherently controlled by the brain. This struggle led, within the circles of the Dadaists, to a new movement that aimed to create art directly from the subconscious. Only imagination was allowed to be the basis of art: thus, surrealism or surrealist art was born.

De violist, geschilderd in Parijs in 1912-1913 door Marc Chagall. Hij schilderde het werk in contrastrijke kleuren. Deze tegengestelde kleuren staan symbool voor de interne strijd die een mens moet leveren tijdens zijn of haar bestaan. Deze tegenstelling zie je ook in de joodse en christelijke symbolen op het schilderij. De violist staat met één voet op het dak van een gebouw en met de andere op een lage heuveltop. Hierdoor ontstaat een tweedimensionaal effect. Zoals in zoveel schilderijen en grafisch werk van Marc Chagall is er een relatie met zijn geboortegrond in Wit-Rusland, het stadje Vitebsk. De violist was onlosmakelijk verbonden met dit gebied. Hij speelde in Vitebsk en omstreken zijn muziek tijdens de geboorte, het huwelijk en de dood van een mens, maar ook tijdens feestdagen en festivals. In lijn met de joodse traditie dacht men dat het mogelijk was om via dans en vioolmuziek contact te krijgen met God. De musical en film `Fiddler on the Roof' ontleende zijn naam aan dit schilderij. Locatie: Het surrealistische schilderij `De violist' van Marc Chagall hangt in het Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.Image: “The Violinist”, painted in Paris in 1912-1913 by Marc Chagall. He created the work in contrasting colors. These opposing colors symbolize the internal struggle that a person must endure during their existence. This contrast is also seen in the Jewish and Christian symbols in the painting. The violinist stands with one foot on the roof of a building and the other on a low hilltop, creating a two-dimensional effect. As in many paintings and graphic works by Marc Chagall, there is a connection to his birthplace in Belarus, the town of Vitebsk. The violinist was intimately connected to this region. He played his music in Vitebsk and its surroundings during the birth, marriage, and death of a person, as well as during holidays and festivals. In line with Jewish tradition, it was believed that one could connect with God through dance and violin music. The musical and film “Fiddler on the Roof” took its name from this painting.
Location: The surrealist painting “The Violinist” by Marc Chagall is housed in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

It would lay the foundation for unique artworks by renowned artists, including the Spaniard Salvador Dali, the Belarusian Marc Chagall, the Spanish artist Joan Miró, the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist of British origin Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), the Belgian artist René Magritte (1898-1967), the Dutch magic realist (a form of surrealism) Carel Willink, the French painter Yves Tanguy (1900-1955), the German painter Max Ernst (1891-1976), and the Greek-Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978). More challenging to categorize within an art movement are the neorealist paintings of Andrew Wyeth and the imaginative parallel worlds created by M.C. Escher in his lithographs, woodcuts, and wood engravings.

Love Song, van Giorgio de Chirico uit 1914. Het hangt in het Museum of Modern Art in New York.Image: “The Song of Love” by the Greek-Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978). He painted this surrealist artwork in 1914, which is noteworthy because the surrealist style wasn’t officially defined as a distinct style until 1924. In the painting, a classically sculpted bust and a rubber glove hang on a wall. In the foreground of this dreamlike scene lies a green rubber ball, while the silhouette of a train passes in the background. The composition evokes an almost desolate feeling. Humans play no role; only their attributes from the present (the train and the ball) and the past (the classical face) come together here. The absence of the human presence is emphasized by the display of an empty glove.
Location: This painting by Giorgio de Chirico is housed in the Museum of Modern Art on the southeast side of Central Park in Manhattan, New York (USA).

This art form was followed by artists from 1917 until around 1950. However, even in the period that followed, there were artists who remained faithful to the surrealist art movement in an adapted manner.

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