The Surrealist Art Of
Surrealism works for me on so many levels.The gamut runs from the, makes you laugh out loud, to unsettles one, puzzles and makes one reflect deeply.
Certainly other movements in art contain many if not all of these elements but perhaps the unsettling aspect is unique to Surrealism-at least in its intensity.
Certainly deeply significant religious art can be unsettling but generally speaking the unsettling element is positive whereas the unsettling aspect of surrealism is an attack on all that is stable in ones relation to the world around one.
Of all the surrealist artists, the Belgian Paul Delvaux (1894-1984) best illustrates, for me, this unsettling character of Surrealism and the painting above "La Ville Inquiete" is to me a perfect example-note that in this crowded with people scene, not one looks at another. The following paragraph from "The World's Greatest Art" about Delvaux covers a brief outline of his life and work and wonderfully describes this painting;
"Born in Liege in Belgium Delvaux studied architecture then painting in Brussels, where he established his studio. In his early career he dabbled in Expressionism and Impressionism but later came under the influence of Giorgio de Chirico and especially his fellow-countryman Rene Magritte. He evolved his own distinctive style of Surrealism in which somnambulatory nudes and doe-eyed semi-nude figures are set alongside skeletons amid classical ruins while the artist, in conventional modern dress, looks on. This largest and most ambitious painting features the arrival of the artist, alighting from a ghostly train in silent cities in the dead of night, illumined only by the moon, in which bodies sleep-walk or flit languorously. This combination of the classical and the contemporary gives these dreamlike paintings a timeless quality. Between 1950 and `1962 he was professor of painting at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture in Brussels. In 1982 the Paul Delvaux museum was established at Sint-Idesbald."
Delvaux's Wikipedia entry is AT THIS LINK
A whole page of Delvaux's images, which range from the amusing to the sensual to the utterly inexplicably bizarre, can be found AT THIS LINK