Education, study and knowledge

The 4 outstanding SURREALIST WORKS by Max Ernst

click fraud protection
Max Ernst: surrealist works

Max ernst (1891-1976) was a painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet, being one of the pioneers of the Dada movement and Surrealism. A provocative, shocking and innovative artist who always seeks to subvert social conventions. His participation in World War I left him deeply traumatized, becoming much more critical of the Western world. A vision of the world as something irrational, turning his ideas strongly into Dadaist and Surrealist works. During World War II he came to the United States as a refugee and there he continued his prolific career as a painter and sculptor.

In this lesson from we offer you a review of the surrealist works by Max Ernst highlights so that you can appreciate the main characteristics of his artistic style.

You may also like: Abstract Expressionism: Featured Artists


  1. Characteristics of the works of Max Ernst and his style
  2. Everything Floats Here (1920) by Max Ernst
  3. Celebes (1921)
  4. Ubu Emperor (1923)
  5. The Angel in the Fireplace (1937)

Characteristics of the works of Max Ernst and his style.

instagram story viewer

Max Ernst was a surrealist painter very prominent of his time and, before knowing the best-known works in his collection, we are going to discover the main characteristics of his style:

  • Max ernst he broke with the traditions and conventions of art. He possessed extensive knowledge of European art history and tried to create a new language and new media to create works of art in which to express the modern world.
  • Ernst too became interested in art made by the mentally ill as a way to access an art made with primary emotions and without restrictions on creativity.
  • He was also interested in Sigmund Freud's dream theories to investigate the psyche and explore what was the source or sources of its creativity and inspiration. A way of working that also led him to take advantage of common dream imagery.
  • Ernst he painted freely from his inner psyche, trying to reach the preverbal state of being and unleash the primary emotions. A way to show all his personal traumas, everything that was hidden in his subconscious. The automatic painting it was one of the central techniques in his works.
  • Another of the techniques developed by Ernst was the frottage or pencil tracing of objects as a way to get images.
  • Also the birds fascinated him, creating an alter ego in the painting, Loplop, who was a bird, being an extension of himself.

Everything Floats Here (1920) by Max Ernst.

Here everything is still floatingit is one of the surrealist works of Max Ernst. This work is a composition made from cut-out photographs of fish, insects, parts of the body and mouths of clouds and smoke so skillfully arranged that it demonstrates Ernst's skill at work the collage. With this painting Ernst tried to express the madness of World War I and that new world devoid of logic and totally random. It also tries to question bourgeois sensibilities.

The images came from images in scientific manuals, anthropological magazines and merchandising catalogs, material with which Ernst created a delicate work that manages to attract the attention of the viewer, called to look closely and prompt him to wonder about the intentionality of the images. Title, Here Everything is Still Floating, it also does not seem to be related to what is depicted, except that the objects are floating in the air. Ernst commented that it was a kind of denunciation of the violent action of man against nature.

Max Ernst: Surrealist Works - Here Everything Still Floats (1920) by Max Ernst

Celebes (1921)

Ernst was inspired by photography of a container to store corn from Sudan to create an elephant-like mechanical being. Thus, the painting also received the name of The Celebes elephant. A work in which Ernst shows a dreamlike image in which disparate objects are juxtaposed, despite which the painting remains a finished composition.

Ernst's work generates some discomfort as his intentions are not clear, in addition to generating some controversy among viewers in the early twentieth century over the nude of a body without head. In this work Ernst he questions which is the world of night and dreams and which is the waking world.

Max Ernst: Surrealist Works - Celebes (1921)

Ubu Emperor (1923)

This is another of Max Ernst's surrealist works and it is small compared to the others, although it is an imposing work in terms of subject matter. In the center appears a tower with outstretched human arms and an architecturally shaped head. The tower is in a precarious balance, like a spinning top, while the top remains stable. A way to show the stability of the architecture and shows us the internal conflict and contradiction. The tower is in a desert with a scythe in the background.

Ubú, the theatrical character with whom the anarchist writer Alfred Jarry He ridiculed the power and corruption of governments is that figure that lacks stability and authority, falling into the ridiculous and the grotesque.

Max Ernst: surrealist works - Ubu Emperor (1923)

The Angel in the Fireplace (1937)

In this work, Ernst represents a fantastic creature with its arms and legs extended and jumping happily, with strange colors and deformed appendages. In addition, another being seems to be emerging from his leg, as if it were a tumor. In this work he is inspired by world political events, especially the defeat of the Republicans at the hands of the Franco side in the Civil War.

Ernst shows all the resulting chaos and fear that the Nazi movement would spread across Europe that was gaining strength in his native Germany. In this painting, Ernst tries to attract the viewer to the painting with a kind title to make them question his beliefs in labeling the monsters as angels.

Max Ernst: Surrealist Works - The Angel in the Fireplace (1937)

If you want to read more articles similar to Max Ernst: surrealist works, we recommend that you enter our category of Story.


  • Iride, Daniela (2013) Max Ernst: The Bird Man, Fondo de Cultura Económica
  • Gimferrer, Pere (1983) Max Ernst, Polygraph
Previous lessonSalvador Dalí and surrealism: summaryNext lessonEdvard Munch: Most Important Works
Summary of Mediterranean piracy

Summary of Mediterranean piracy

The Mediterranean Sea has seen endless commercial voyages, naval battles and other activities thr...

Read more

Stages of the Industrial Revolution

Stages of the Industrial Revolution

Image: TwitterPossibly one of the major changes of the history of mankind was the so-called Indus...

Read more

The most important INVENTS of the Third Industrial Revolution

The most important INVENTS of the Third Industrial Revolution

One of the main characteristics of industrial revolutions is the large number of inventions that ...

Read more

instagram viewer