Definition of surrealism in US English:



  • 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.

    Launched in 1924 by a manifesto of André Breton and having a strong political content, the movement grew out of symbolism and Dada and was strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud. In the visual arts its most notable exponents were André Masson, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Luis Buñuel

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


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