Art Surrealism Annotated Bibliography Sample

Published: 2021-07-03 02:00:05
essay essay

Category: Women, Art, Theory, Artists, Message, Surrealism, Sigmund Freud, Australia

Type of paper: Essay

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Art and architecture

As an art form, surrealism was an art form that was invented in the 20th century to release the creative potential of the artist’s subconscious mind. Surrealism used many forms of Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory, a theory that was made up by Sigmund Fred. This theory was centered on three main facts; the structure of the personality, defense mechanisms and stages of psychosexual development.

Freudian Psychoanalytic Theories influenced surrealist artists largely. One of the artists that were greatly influenced by these theories was Clifford Bayliss. Clifford Bayliss was an Australian artist whose works and acknowledgement comes from the Australian Art Gallery. He lived from1912-1989. It is from the Australian Art Gallery that I found Clifford’s works from the studies conducted by the art gallery they found out that he his works were based on the concept of surrealism. One of his works that was greatly influenced by Freudian Psychoanalytic Theories was his “nude with hair caught in the door”. The picture depicts a woman kneeling nude with her hair caught by a door and a male figure with a bowling hat standing nearby. One of the basis of Freudian Psychoanalytic Theories is the stages of psychosexual development. This work is informed largely by these theories.

One of the questions that come to mind is whether the man in the bowling hat is a participant in the sexual scene or just an observer. The artist uses Freudian techniques so that the observer is both a participant and on observer in the scene. Consequently, the observer has a feeling of participating in an emotional relationship in the scene and at the same time, playing a dormant observatory role. The artist uses Freudian techniques to hide some of this haziness in the paintings. The kneeling females figure causes speculation as to whether the woman is being held captive against her will or she is a willing participant in the scene.

Since the art was made in 1945, a period plagued with war, the portrayal of the woman in the art could be a way of denoting the conflict that was taking place at the time.

In this particular piece of art, the artist uses Freudian techniques to trigger a thinking process in the observer. In the art, the artist has portrayed an animal emerging from the wall. To the observer, this is surreal and forces the observer to think deeply about the art. The observer is forced to wonder whether he is being invited into join in the artist’s fantasy or just be an observer. The posture of the woman forces one to wonder whether to comply with the artist’s vision or struggle. In this case, the artist seems to use Freudian techniques to bring the observer about to his way of thinking. The use of Freudian techniques in this particular art is to help the observer to understand the message that the artist has incorporated in the picture. In this case, the message of the artist could be the war period and how the rest of the world viewed and reacted to it.

Psychoanalytical theories in the case of the work “nude with hair caught in the door”, Freudian techniques have been used to tap into the subconscious of the observer, with the intent of unleashing ideas that are suppressed in the unconscious of the observer. These ideas could have been suppressed in the subconscious since they are not readily acceptable by the society. Surrealist used Freudian techniques in their art to rebel in their own way against what they thought oppressed or opposed them in one way or the other.

Finally, the artist could have used Freudian techniques to focus on the message that he was trying to put across. The use of the Freudian techniques was a way of the artist to tap further into his subconscious to bring out his work in the most vivid way.


Bersani, Leo. The Freudian body: psychoanalysis and art. New York: Columbia University Press, 1986. Print.
Phillips, William. Art and psychoanalysis. Cleveland: World Pub. Co.,1957. Print.

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