Definition of surrealism in English:



  • [mass noun] A 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.

    • ‘This was surrealism in action long before it moved into the realms of art.’
    • ‘Perhaps this is the nature of the genre: surrealism, by definition, requires a suspension of the real.’
    • ‘There is an inherent pitfall in such movements as surrealism, Dadaism, and absurdism.’
    • ‘On abstract expressionism, I think that its debt to surrealism was largely formal or technical.’
    • ‘Indeed, I have found a new respect for surrealism and the artists who are brave enough to tackle the style.’
    • ‘Similarly, Kelley combats critics who reduce surrealism to an aesthetic movement.’
    • ‘In the end, Malley is really unlike the sort of grandstanding, romantic surrealism he mocks.’
    • ‘He had given up surrealism on sadly realizing that you need fixed points, after all, both in life and in the arts.’
    • ‘I viewed breathtaking works in the style of Rembrandt, through impressionism and surrealism.’
    • ‘The need for the viewer to decipher the work was exactly what the artists who first forayed into the world of surrealism had in mind.’
    • ‘Abstract expressionism, collage, surrealism, impressionism and the use of other materials were expressly banned.’
    • ‘The script does wobble - we lurch from naturalism to cinematic surrealism, with apparently little to justify it.’
    • ‘That is why he describes his transition from Dada to surrealism as a compromise.’
    • ‘He had no formal training in art but, influenced by surrealism, he began making collages and boxed assemblages in the early 1930s.’
    • ‘That is not to say his style is pedestrian, but it is easier to see the influence of classic examples of surrealism within it.’
    • ‘The central portion of this book is dedicated to women's contributions to surrealism.’
    • ‘The old masters of surrealism aren't the only ones popular with today's art collectors, though.’
    • ‘Both New Photography and surrealism were heavily influenced by European art.’
    • ‘His work is considered a unique style combining impressionism, surrealism and abstract modern painting.’
    • ‘His intention was to show surrealism as a movement capable of standing at the head of opposition to reaction.’


Early 20th century: from French surréalisme (see sur-, realism).