Interactive Feature

Magritte and Surrealism

Inspired by Freud's recently published insights into the hidden reaches of the unconscious, the Surrealists sought to subordinate the rational mind in favor of the liberation of instinct. Led by the poet André Breton, the adherents of the movement proposed an alternative agenda for the transformation of society. In Surrealism's later years, Breton described this pursuit in an interview: "Completely against the tide, in a violent reaction against the impoverishment and sterility of thought processes that resulted from centuries of rationalism, we turned toward the marvelous and advocated it unconditionally."

This feature relates the work of René Magritte to the surrealist movement. Learn more about Surrealism through this and other segments from Making Sense of Modern Art, an extensive and engaging guide to modern and contemporary works in SFMOMA's permanent collection. The program's rich-media format enables you to "zoom in" on full-screen details of individual artworks, explore excerpts from archival videos and films, and listen to commentary by artists, art historians, critics, and collectors.