Art History Witchery: Surrealism

Hey, all! If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see the future let me know! This lesson is about Surrealism. Now a bit about the movement itself.

Surrealism began in the 1920s as an offshoot of Dada, an avant-garde art movement that embraced the absurd. Surrealism was more than a mere art movement, it was a cultural movement that the way to achieve completeness was to combine reality and the unconscious, thus creating a Surreality. They are best known for combining an environment that is almost photographic quality with otherworldly and disconcerting elements, such as the melting clocks in Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory (shown above). Surrealism was meant to make people uncomfortable and to think outside the box that reality tends to put people into.

Notable Surrealist Artists:

  • Salvador Dali
  • Andre Breton (founder)
  • Freida Kahlo
  • Lenora Carrington
  • Dorthea Tanning

For Surrealism, I’ve created a card spread that boils down the main idea of Surrealism, combining reality with the unconscious to create a surreality.

The Surrealist Card Spread:

Reality: What influences are around you 

Unconscious: What your inner self is telling you

Surreality: How to achieve and balance what both influences want

Please note that tarot, oracle cards, or runes are not a substitute for professional help.

bitsofbliss  asked:


I got you as best I can (I still have to study lol). My teacher has made like 10 minute review videos for every unit we did. I’d start there because they have the biggest ideas for each era laid out better than I could ever do for you. Here’s some flashcards for you too.  

But art? I can probably help with that. The most important eras for you to know would probably be Roman/Greek stuff, medieval stuff, Renaissance, Baroque, (there’s some other less important ones that go in here that we don’t really need), Romanticism, Realism, Modernism. Dadaism and Surrealism are also kind of important, but less so, in my opinion.

A little bit about those;

  • Roman/Greek stuff: order, human beauty, that kind of stuff. They liked marble.
  • medieval: super religious imagery, things not to scale with the more important/holy stuff being bigger, they didn’t care as much about realism
  • Renaissance: Roman stuff is back baby; though religious imagery is still very much a thing, it’s painted far more realistically (think about the Last Supper); geometry is an important part of this
  • Romanticism: comes out a lot during the Industrial Revolution; obsessed with nature and feelings; they want to get away from the city and preserve the traditional stories of the peasantry; nationalism is a huge part of this
  • Realism: we want to depict life as it is; especially the lives of those in the industrial areas that are suffering right now; this comes especially after the Revolutions of 1848 that all failed; people begin to doubt and question many of the ideas of Romanticism
  • Modernism: war sucks; we don’t know what to do with ourselves anymore so we’re going to experiment with form and shit until we find ourselves (the Lost Generation is a huge part of this)
    • Dadaism: rejected logic, reason, aestheticism after the war; expresses nonsense in life
    • Surrealism: melting clocks, my dude. melting clocks. from wikipedia:” Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision, created strange creatures from everyday objects and developed painting techniques that allowed the unconscious to express itself.”
    • both of these were part of early part of 20th century

God, I’m bad at art but hopefully this helps you start out. Also remember the PERSIA (political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, artistic) stuff for each era in the videos linked above. That’s going to be what the entire test is focused around and is a good way to think about things.

Let me know if you need some more help!