A Week of Max Ernst: Monday

Of This Men Shall Know Nothing-Max Ernst 1923
HE 2nd of April  (1891) at 9:15 a.m. Max Ernst had his first contact with the sensible world, when he came out of the egg which his mother had laid  in an eagle’s nest and which the bird had brooded for seven years. Some Data on the Youth of M.E , As Told by Himself.1942

Ernst had a talent for self-mythologising as the above quotes shows. At various times he was Dadamax or Loplop, the Superior of the Birds. His work retains to a remarkable degree a sense of mystery, we feel like we are on the verge of understanding yet we pause and begin to doubt; the answer to the enigma has escaped us and remains as elusive as ever.

Monday’s Ernst, the 1923’s Of This Men Shall Know Nothing (Ernst had a talent for titles) is a excellent example of the cryptic nature of Ernst’s art. Is it a pictorial representation of a Freudian case study, an illustration of alchemical and esoteric doctrine, or a prophetic declaration of the coming of Surrealism? The inscription on the back of painting, ‘This painting is curious because of its symmetry. The two sexes balance one another.’ would seem to point to esotericism, as one of the key tenets of the occult world-view is the reconciliation of opposites; Sun and Moon, Day and Night, Male and Female. Yet the partial eclipse where the moon seems to be gaining ascendancy could signify the rise of Surrealism and the reclamation of the rights of the unconscious and irrationality. Loplop, the Superior of the Birds, sings the answer to the riddle, but although we admire the beauty of the song, remain none the wiser.



46 thoughts on “A Week of Max Ernst: Monday

  1. I’m the last person to claim to possess knowledge in terms of art. I just know what I like, and none of the history. So I hope I so not day anything wrong… But I love all the ‘almost’ invisibility of the threads connecting everything into orbits of time in this. Synchronicity comes to mind, and I love it!

    Very nice post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So I don’t feel so silly commenting on a post I merely liked previously. I’m always in awe of how deep your well of knowledge on these particular subjects. I’m drawn to the lines that connect the images. I wonder … is it just a way to connect the imagery? And balance between the opposites – the transition he must have felt bridging Dada with Surrealism. Although… come to think of it, he wouldn’t have been aware of it, would he? When were the lines drawn, the death of one and the emergence of the other?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Huh. Interesting. I saw the faint lines almost like balloon strings holding the limbs, sun, moon, attached to the earth, maybe even keeping the towers upright. It gives movement and animation to the piece in my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It looks like it should be hanging about the crib of the child of whatever race of aliens conquers the earth. I like his story of his birth. What a weirdo. Lol. ๐Ÿ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

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