Landscapes—images of natural scenery—remained a popular subject at the height of the Surrealist movement in the 1920s. In the decades preceding Surrealism, the genre had undergone radical transformations as artists broke free from straight representational landscapes, using non-naturalistic colors and experimental paint applications. Despite these innovations, most painters continued to paint from the natural world.
Surrealist landscapes tapped into a different source for imagery: the subconscious mind. The landscapes shown here reflect the uncanny, sometimes elusive imagery of dreams, myth, and fantasy. At times lacking recognizable geological elements such as mountains, hills, or vistas, these works confound traditional expectations of the landscape genre, and propose that the interior world of the psyche is as complex and ripe for exploration as the world beyond our bodies.
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