Surrealism began in the mid-1920s first as a philosophical movement. The word means “above realism”. It started in France and was chosen by plenty of poets, writers and artists as their way of expressing ideas and deep feelings. The French poet Andre Breton is believed to have been the first to embrace the surrealistic thinking. He did so in The Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. A fun fact is that Breton originally thought the visual arts, such as painting and film, would not benefit the new-born movement. Looking back we could see that he was wrong.

   Surrealists prefer the inner, subconscious mind and the realm of dreams over logic, reason and conscious. Very often surrealistic artworks are considered pieces of work that “make no sense”. This is primarily because these paintings attempt to depict random thoughts and scattered dreams.

   Some of the well-known representatives of the movement are Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, Rene Magritte, Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy. One can notice that they all came from different European countries: Dali is Spanish and considered maybe the greatest of all Surrealists, de Chirico is Italian, Magritte is Belgian, Ernst is German and Yanguy is French. Of course, there are many more talented artists who deserve to be studied here. However, these are the names which come to mind when surrealism is mentioned.

  They served the artistic ideas of the Surrealist art movement and gave voice to their inner thoughts, distant memories and endless chaos.

  Here are some of the most popular art works: Salvador Dali’s The persistence of Memory depicting the irrelevance of time; the Son of Man by Margittes which shows a man whose eyes gaze back at you; and de Chirico’s The Song of Love which is by the way one of the earliest products of the movement. By putting together different objects which are unrelated, the painter expresses his opinion of the World War I and its ridiculousness.

  Even today some artists choose surrealist technique and give life to incredible masterpieces. After all, surrealism is a form of art appreciated by many. Sculptors embraced it too as a way of conveying intimate feelings. Some of them became well-paid as well! For instance, Walking Man by Alberto Giacometti was sold for over 104 million dollars!

  Surrealism proves to be an art form which often attracts people’s attention and criticism.  It seems to have no boundaries and many followers. 



realm – an area as of knowledge or activity

depict – describe; represent in a picture or sculpture

gaze – to look steadily


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