René Magritte | Surrealist Painter

René Magritte | Surrealist Painter

The 20th Century Surrealist Painter René Magritte, is one of my favorite artists. I particularly like the Surrealist movement because each person brings their own psychology to bear when interpreting the paintings. Enjoy!

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The Freudian Origins of Surrealism

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 23:53 p.m. EDT, 15 August 2011

Sigmund Freud, Photo in LIFE Magazine

The surrealist movement is in part based on the groundbreaking work of psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud's theories on free association, dream analysis, and the unconscious.

By tapping into the unconscious and portraying it unfettered through painting and photography, the viewer is afforded the opportunity to live vicariously in the waking dreams.

In the Nahmias Report we have featured the works of the painters Rene Margritte, Frida Kahlo, Francis Picabia, Salvador Dali, and Max Ernst, and encourage you to learn more about these artists and view their works by following the links above.

Some may look at the work of surrealists and conclude that these people must have been mentally unstable. Quite the contrary, most of these artists refused to subvert their inner realities to the conventions of the epoch in which they were born.

They chose instead to push further into the frontiers of the unconscious by translating the ethereal mysteries of their minds on to canvassed landscapes which continue to fascinate, repulse, and intrigue viewers.

Salvador Dalí said it best, "there is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad."

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Twitter: @nahmias_report Editor: @ayannanahmias

Fernando Botero | Amedeo Modigliani

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:31 AM EDT, Sunday, 7 August 2011

Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres,_La_Grande_Odalisque,_1814An Odalisque (Turkish: Odalık) was a female slave in an Ottoman seraglio. She was an assistant or apprentice to the concubines and wives, and she might rise in status to become one of them. Most odalisque were part of the Imperial Harem, that is, the household, of the sultan.

Many artists, especially classical artist such as Jean August Dominique Ingres, who in 1814 painted the Grand Odalisque, often portrayed female nudes in this style. Hence the original use of the word as a noun has morphed within the field of paintings into an adjective which used to describe a particular style of portraying a female nude.

Two of into my favorite artists, Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920 and Fernando Botero Angulo (born April 19,1932 - present), depict stylized Odalisque at opposite ends of the spectrum. Both artists portray women in exaggerated proportions, Modigliani chose to elongate his figures, while Botero chose to accentuate corpulence. I find in each a more  natural, albeit caricature, portrayal of women because these artists do not seek perfection through idealization.

Whereas the nudes of the great artists like Michaelangelo strive to not only portray physical perfection of the body types of their age, it seemed as if the artists sought to imbue the canvas with the very essence of the model's soul.  By contrast, Modigliani and Botero seek to explore other aspects of painting and the female nude.

Modigliani was born into an Italian-Jewish family from Livorno, Italy.  He moved to Paris in 1906 where he met a female poet,  Anna Akhmatov who became the inspiration for many of his paintings."

"One of the key-elements of Modigliani's portraitism were the slated heads, derived from Byzantine cariatides because of the horizontal placement of the eyes and mouth coupled with the curvature of the nose. The portraits subtlety is due to Modigliani's unique talent, but its essence, the facial constructions one of the most important artistic inventions of modern art." Source:  Paintings.Name

Such directness in figurative portraiture forms the basis for abstract art, and in fact, Picasso would later use this mask-like depictions of the human face in many of his paintings.

Born in 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, as Fernando Botero Angulo, he has worked in landscapes and still-lifes, but his fame rests on paintings and sculpture of human figures with almost comically exaggerated, rounded features. Colombians have loved him for decades, at least since he won first prize at the Salon de Artistas Colmbiano in 1959, and find his work emblematic of their nation’s identity.

The Latin American artist is often quoted as saying that he paints "the world as he sees it." His work though in the style of caricature is immediately recognizable, and captivating or repulsive depending upon the viewer's perception of corpulence. For those who like 'Zaftig' women, Botero's preference for bigger, richer, models versus thin and emaciated body types that are currently in vogue, makes his work fascinating and engaging.

For students of art history, even a cursory review of his work reveals a Baroque influence. One could reasonably argue that Botero uses the distortion of proportion as commentary on social mores and the stature of the subject.

Perhaps the tendency of Baroque art toward abundance and heightened proportion helped form his signature style. But for his part, Botero claims not to have known or understood the sources of his art when he began painting, calling it entirely intuitive.

Botero’s Baroque inspiration was recognized in the title of a major exhibition of his work, “The Baroque World of Fernando Botero,” which toured museums in North America from 2007 through 2008. The accompanying catalog, published by Yale University Press (2007), is the most extensive study of his life and work to date. Featuring 100 works from the artist’s private collection, the volume provides an informed review of his considerable body of work. Source:  Antique Trader

 

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Francis Picabia | Surrealist Painter

Surrealist paintings are some of my favorite and I have featured in this blog the paintings of Rene Magritte, Salvadore Dali, and Max Ernst. This post features the work of Francis Picabia who painted in a wide range of styles from realism to abstraction. Picabia produced a large body of work that employed biomorphic forms, geometric abstraction and colors of Impressionism. Like other Impressionist artists he often used thick paint to build up a broad abstract background.

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Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí's paintings and art are some of the most recognizable of the Surrealist movement. In large part, he achieved this through a rare combination of creative genius and marketing savvy. Anyone who has read the biography of great artists, or watched movies about their lives, will undoubtedly note that these artists rarely achieved fame or monetary success during their lifetimes.

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