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Surrealism and Salvador Dalí


Surrealists like Rene Magritte and Salvador Dalí explored the subconscious. Shining their artistic light on deep urges, dark fantasies, and weird dreams, they painted everyday images in jarring juxtapositions.

Complete Video Script

[105] In the 1920s, Paris was still the epicenter of modern culture…with art that captured the excitement of the times. Painters like Picasso, writers like Hemingway, and musicians like Cole Porter gathered and jammed. And art was becoming ever more bizarre…even surreal.

[106] Artists known as Surrealists explored the subconscious…deep urges, dark fantasies, weird dreams. Painting landscapes of the mind…with collages of everyday images in jarring juxtapositions, they freed the viewer to connect the dots.

[107] Rene Magritte used his training in advertising to push people's buttons. He painted real objects with camera-eye clarity but jumbled together in provocative ways. People morph into bizarre objects…and stairs lead nowhere. The strange pairing only short-circuits your brain when you try to make sense of it.

[108, Salvador Dalí, 1904–1989; Dalí Theater-Museum, Figueres, Spain] Salvador Dalí of Spain combined surreal dreamscapes with astonishing realism. He purposely chose images — from religious to sexual — that packed the biggest emotional punch. Ever the entertainer, promoter, and trickster, Dalí used his own mausoleum — he was buried right here — to showcase his life's work…both intriguing and disturbing.

[109] Leave it to Dalí to show a crucifix from an angle you never considered. To paint squares that, when you squint, look like Abe Lincoln,,,a head filled with a candle…and furniture that morphs into the screen siren Mae West. His portrait on the ceiling, with his drawers wide open and empty, declares he gave it all to his art.