All periods in the history of art have experienced their own form of expression, each with a large number of expressive forms that have given rise to the birth of artistic movements . These movements are not determined solely by social or historical conditions but are conditioned by the aesthetic, formal, conceptual, generic and thematic characteristics of the productions that determine them. This is the case of surrealism , a literary and artistic movement , dedicated to expressing the imagination as it is revealed in dreams, a free thoughtwho does not have a conscious control of reason . Surrealism inherited his sensitivity rationalist anti Dada , but was lighter in spirit and was shaped by emerging theories about the perception of reality , the most obvious influence the model subconscious of Freud.


What is surrealism?

It is an art and literary movement that was born in France and that had its origin from Dadaism . It was a movement that sought to discover a truth through images that expressed their emotions with logical reasoning.


What does it consist of

Surrealism was a literary and artistic movement that consisted of the expression of thought in a spontaneous and automatic way , which was only regulated through the impulses of the subconscious , and did not pay attention or importance to logic or the denial of norms. previously established moral and social.


He proposed that fantasy , madness, and the use of automatic reaction should be valued . For this artistic movement, the artist had to let himself be carried away by the impulse, pointing out all the ideas and thoughts that he had in mind, leaving logic aside .

It was a combination of representative , abstract , unreal, and unconscious thinking . It also consisted in the liberation of logic and the use of reason , it was to go a little beyond that consciousness that was practiced day by day to express the unconscious and dreams in this way and sought how to express hidden truths in an irrational way. .


The main characteristics of this movement were the following:

  • It was born as a literary movement but it was introduced in sculpture, cinema and painting.
  • Everything that goes beyond logic and the unconscious is admitted .
  • They consider that the truth is hidden behind the real world.
  • It admits everything that is related to dreams , myths and visions .
  • Three of the most important aspects were automatism , psychoanalysis, and witchcraft .
  • They consider the protocols Social restrict the freedom .
  • They represented the unconscious , dreams and the human being .
  • It featured incongruous elements , spasms, and autonomous figures .
  • It depicted an illogical and absurd world .


The surrealism movement was born in France in 1924, from the personality of André Breton who had studied the doctrines of Freud and psychoanalysis and its origin took place from the ideas of Dadaism . The term was first used by the poet known as Guillaume Apollinaire . This artistic trend is born in the bosom of literature mainly from Rimbaud, Lautreamont, Mallarme and Reverdy.  It was a movement that lasted until World War II.


Surrealism was an artistic movement that emerged in France between the years 1921 and 1923, it was born after the First World War with the publication of André Breton’s First Surrealist Manifesto . It was created by a group of writers who were not happy with the anarchy that existed at that time. It arose as an invitation to open the mind towards the non-rational and to awaken the hidden forces that the unconscious of man had in order to reach the magical.


There are two types of surreal artwork.

  • The first type of surreal art was that which was inspired by dreams .
  • The second type of surrealist art was also known by the name of ” automatism .” It happened when people did things automatically , in other words without thinking.

Surrealism in art

Abstract surrealism is observed in the pictorial manifestations where figurative representations disappear and the universes devised by the criteria of each artist are imposed. For its part, figurative surrealism occurs in painting and sculpture in the face of absurd scenes , monstrous images or dreamlike representations completely removed from reality.

Surrealism in sculpture

There was a duality in the interpretation of surrealism as there were the abstract surrealists and the figurative surrealists , who were interested in the dream path , among them René Magritte, Paul Delvaux, or Salvador Dalí, who adopted the association of objects and monstrous deformations , and the dreamlike and delusional atmosphere that emerges from his works.

Literary surrealism

Surrealism has spread to painting , the seventh art , music and literature . However, not all the currents of this movement fall into the same category and it is here within this set that Gothic surrealism, figurative surrealism and abstract surrealism , among others , can be identified .

Spanish surrealism

In Spain this movement appeared around the 1920s mixed with symbolist accents and popular painting . In addition to Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí, Spanish surrealism is made up of Maruja Mallo, Gregorio Prieto, José Moreno Villa and José Caballero, in addition to the neo-Cubists who decided to practice surrealism.

There was also an important group of surrealist artists in the Canary Islands , grouped around the Eduardo Westerdahl Art Gazette . The highest representatives of surrealist painting were Óscar Domínguez , Juan Ismael and Westerdahl himself .

Latin American Surrealism

In Latin America, the first Surrealist exhibition in Latin America is considered the one that took place in Lima , Peru in 1935 at the initiative of the Peruvian surrealist poets and painters César Moro and Emilio Adolfo Westphalen . There is a debate about whether Frida Kahlo’s work belongs to the surrealist current. Breton considered Mexico the essence of surrealism and interpreted his works as surrealists.

French surrealism

It was one of the most important avant – garde movements both on an artistic and literary level , and it took shape in the French capital between 1919 and 1924, spreading its influence to the world. Intrigued by Sigmund Freud and Breton , the Surrealists introduced changes in everyday life and in society, providing dreams and dreams with a fundamental dimension in creating a new creative language .


Among the most common themes of surrealism we can mention the following:

  • The freedom and chance .
  • Inner world, emotions , dreams and everything instinctive.
  • What was mysterious , unusual, how wonderful.
  • The love , the eroticism , the sensuality .
  • The rebellion that arose against bourgeois society.
  • Desolation and anguish , and some macabre motifs.
  • The fascination for objects.


The main representatives of surrealism are:

  • André Breton (1896 – 1966)
  • Salvador Dalí (1904 – 1989)
  • Luis Buñuel (1900 – 1983)
  • Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)
  • Joan Miró (1893 – 1983)
  • René Magritte (1898 – 1961)
  • Max Ernst (1891 – 1976)


Among the best works that we can mention of surrealism are:

  • The Persistence of Memory , also known as The Soft Clocks is a famous painting by the Spanish painter Salvador Dalí
  • The disintegration of the persistence of the memory of Salvador Dalí.
  • The Madonna of Port Lligat.
  • Geopolitical Child Observing The Birth of the New Man.
  • The temptation of Saint Anthony .


Surrealism conceives of art as a way of forgetting about reality . The importance of surrealism was its influence on the Generation of ’27 .  All the authors of 27 had a great influence on his work for the liberation and enrichment of language.

Surrealism tends to interpret the dreams , fantasies and desires of the painter through the creation of absurd images, without meaning, leaving the observer confused using sexual and erotic symbols.

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