Surrealism is an artistic cultural group originating in the early 20th century that expressed itself through paintings and writings. The adherent artists often depicted unknown but visceral objects, scenes and creatures with an emphasis on photographic precision to express a sense of ambiguity between dreams and reality in an explicit manner.
The object of a surrealist painting was to express a sense of utter amazement with the sometimes incomprehensible yet familiar object in the painting. As a result of its broad mindedness, surrealism has influenced numerous branches of art including paintings, literature, music, politics, film, philosophy, etc. In this regard it is more of a genre rather than an art style because it transcends the narrow confines of expression associated with most art styles.
In many instances, artists who prefer the surrealist approach have relied on the concepts of subconscious awareness as well as dream imagery to portray the visions that they desire to highlight.
Surreal paintings and art in general was also a rebellion against convention and the organized approach to conducting art and stimulating expression. The emphasis in many instances was to stimulate imagination and create a sense of liberation from the strictures of art, society, and politics and even thought itself. Liberation is the central theme of the approach, which establishes itself before the subject even, comes into consideration.
By painting in the most creative and unconfined methods, surreal artists not only raised the bar in comprehension of art but destroyed and eliminated it altogether. These considerations and concepts were so powerful in the 20th century that they influenced literature and other forms of art and expression; birthing what became known as the post-modern era when non-objective creativity became the rule rather than the exception.
Surreal paintings aim at channeling subconscious intuitions with the aim of liberating the imagination to enhanced creativity. Among the modernist styles, surrealism is the most radical in terms of eschewing rationalism and objective thought, viewing these as tainted with flawed intellectual frameworks.
Surreal paintings are also the most visible and recognizable element of the surrealist movement, characterized with perplexing and sometimes bizarre imagery meant to shock the viewer out of their typical thinking.
Surreal paintings are therefore the pinnacle of flexible, creative and unbounded expression in art, with no particular rules describing or defining whatever they communicate except a vivid visual representation of the primary concepts in an artist’s mind.