Surrealism is a 1920s cultural movement. Through it, artists aimed to change the viewer’s experience and free them from reality, the expected and a restrictive mindset. Surrealists often put together objects with no logical connection to create unexpected imagery, challenging the viewer’s preconditioned perception of reality. Think outside the box and discover the top ten pioneers of the Surrealist movement.
René Magritte (Belgium)
René Magritte is one of the most well-known and famous surrealist painters of all time. In his work, the Belgian painter displays common objects in an unusual context and plays with elements of surprise. His artwork is thought-provoking, full of wit and irony. He often employs both words and images in his painting, but always in an absurd context. We can best describe his work in his own words: “Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Max Ernst (France/Germany)
Max Ernst was a self-taught German-born Surrealist. His fascination with psychiatry and his traumatic experiences during World War I had a huge impact on his visual work. His paintings usually depict apocalyptic scenes and an illogical world. He is one of the first artists to investigate his subconscious and apply Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. Ernst also developed his own unique techniques: collage, frottage and grattage.
Yves Tanguy (France)
Yves Tanguy was a self-taught Paris-born Surrealist painter. Tanguy’s paintings are eerie, illogical and unique. They portray vast, dream-like landscapes populated by strange, abstract shapes, rocks and metallic formations. Solitude, emptiness and helplessness are recurring themes, which he painted in a limited palette of colors. He also used psychiatric textbooks to get inspiration for the title of his works.
Salvador Dalí (Spain)
Salvador Dalí is a well-known Spanish Surrealist painter born in Catalonia. Dalí was a highly imaginative artist who dedicated himself not only painting, but also to sculpture, film and photography. In his paintings, Dalí relied on symbolism and abstract imagination. Clocks, elephants and eggs are symbols often used by Dalí in his work. He studied Sigmund Freud and regarded dreams as central to human thought. Dalí was an eccentric, attention-grabbing artist that best described himself and his work as follows: “There is only one difference between a madman and me. (…) I know I am mad.”
Paul Delvaux (Belgium)
Paul Delvaux is Belgium’s pioneer of the Surrealist movement. The fiction of Jules Verne and the poetry of Homer influenced Delvaux’s work, which does not vary in style or in motifs. His paintings are easily recognizable as they frequently depict nude or semi-nude women in odd settings. Skeletons are often part of the scenery, together with men in bowler hats. Delvaux produced several night scenes with fascinating moonlit details.
Méret Elisabeth Oppenheim (Germany/Switzerland)
Méret Oppenheim was a Swiss-German artist and photographer, and an active member of the Surrealist movement. She often used everyday objects to which she applied an alchemical transformation. This technique invited the viewer to extend the sensorial experience and view an object differently. In her works, Oppenheim subtly referred to female sexuality and female exploitation by the opposite sex. Many of her pieces focused on the same recurring themes, which explored issues of gender and sexuality.
Katherine Linn Sage (United States of America)
Kay Sage was an American Surrealist artist and poet. Her work was often compared with that of her husband, Yves Tanguy. However, her work usually depicted much larger architectural constructions, compared to the meticulous technique of Tanguy. Biographer Régine Tessier associated her work with a thunderstorm, meaning that it was depressing and exhilarating at the same time.
Leonora Carrington (Great Britain, Mexico)
Leonora Carrington was an English-born Mexican painter, and one of the last bastions of the Surrealist movement in the 1930s. Her artistic creativity was full of odd and fascinating happenings. Carrington usually portrayed creatures half-human, half-animal, along with horses and birds in a dreamlike scenery.
Man Ray (United States of America)
Man Ray’s art spanned painting, sculpture and photography, to name but a few. He was captivated by the juxtaposition of an object with a female body and the depiction of distorted female figures. He is mostly remembered for his photographs, and especially the camera-less pictures called ‘rayographs.’ Ray placed everyday objects on a sheet of photosensitized paper and exposed it to the light. The ‘rayographs’ created abstract and unique images, which revealed a new way of seeing things.
Remedios Varo Uranga (Spain, Mexico)
Remedios Varo Uranga was a Spanish-Mexican Surrealist painter. Her work was influenced by renaissance art, religion, mystic and hermetic traditions. She was also fascinated with alchemy and geometry, which were often represented in her paintings. In her own words, Surrealism was an “expressive resting place within the limits of Cubism, and a way of communicating the incommunicable.”
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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