The artist as a magician, visionary, and alchemist
Like no other 20th-century movement, Surrealism was keenly inspired by tropes of magic, myth and the occult. In their engagement with the irrational and the unconscious, numerous of its members looked to magic as a poetic and deeply philosophical discourse, related to both arcane knowledge and individual self-empowerment. In their works, they heavily drew on esoteric symbols and cultivated the image of the artist as a magician, visionary, and alchemist. This catalog explores the myriad ways, in which magic and the occult informed the development of the Surrealist movement in international perspective, from the “metaphysical paintings” of Giorgio de Chirico through to works of the post-war period. Lavishly illustrated, it combines longer research essays with focused chapter introductions, all penned by leading scholars in the field. Amongst the many fascinating artists included in the volume are Victor Brauner, Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Enrico Donati, Max Ernst, Leonor Fini, Wifredo Lam, René Magritte, Roberto Matta, Roland Penrose, Kay Sage, Kurt Seligmann, Dorothea Tanning, Yves Tanguy, and Remedios Varo.