Magical Realism

396 artworks, 51 artists
Magical realism is an art movement in which fantastic elements are inscribed in a realistic image of the world. The style combines the illogical features of surrealism and the strong traditions of classicism and romanticism. The artists who work in magical realism create a window into the world, through which the viewer can see something unexpected, something that does not fit into the usual everyday activity. Magical realism supposes depicting life in such a way that the material world and the objective reality preserve a specific truthful appearance, but at the same time acquire an otherworldly meaning that lies beyond the boundaries of everyday, rationally comprehensible value system.

The style began to take its shape when society lost interest in the extravagant and incomprehensible works by the expressionist artists, when there appeared a desire to enjoy the aesthetics of the old painting schools; moreover, the beliefs, philosophy, and exotic traditions of pre-Columbian Indian civilizations gained popularity. Christian medieval aesthetics gave way to the magical superstitious worldview of American Aborigines, which turned out to be attractive to the Europeans. For the first time, the paradoxical term “magical realism” was used in 1925 by the German critic Franz Roch in describing the return of painters to the traditions of realism. Throughout the 20th century, the art movement adopted all the new achievements of scientific and technological progress, as well as the plots of the science fiction writers.

The main distinguishing feature of the magical realism artworks is the thorough, subtle, technical drawing of the scenes and objects. This allows viewer to immerse into the image as much as possible, to believe in the veracity of what is happening. The composition is made with a “forward movement” to enhance the sense of space and distance. The viewer’s gaze dives into the infinite space of fields, hills, sky and clouds, his/her consciousness plunges into the subject of the picture. The image contains folklore, fantasy or inexplicable elements, symbols and images that interact with each other. The subjects emphasize the emotional and sexual aspects of human life with the help of the detailed images of facial expressions, nudity, postures and gestures. The depicted objects violate the laws of the physical world, hovering in space. Carefully traced miniature objects grow to frightening sizes and fit into macro-space. The colour palette of such paintings is no less rich and deep than that of the classical schools of painting.

The main principle of magical realism was the contrast: between the past and the future, between the subject and the image of an object, cause and effect, emotional outbursts and what had caused them. Bright flowers bloom among the snowy hills, subjects move freely in the “unrestrained” space, and young beauties suffer before they lose their lover. At the same time, artists carefully control and dose the degree of fantastic component in the paintings, so as not to violate the ability to realistic perception and allow the viewer to liberate one’s consciousness.

Magical realism pictures:
Truth” 1905, “Paradise” 1909 by Mikalojus Čiurlionis; “Artist over Viciebsk” 1978 by Marc Chagall; “Christina’s World” 1948, “Groundhog day (Karl Kuerner’s Kitchen)” 1949, “Painters Fully”1989 by Andrew Wyeth; “A Variation on Sadness” 1957 by René Magritte; “Portrait of Barbara” 1989 by Hans Rudolph Giger.

Magical realism artists:
Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, Michael Parkes, Marc Chagall, René Magritte, Andrew Wyeth, Hans Rudolph Giger, Albert Carel Willink.