A Week of Max Ernst: Thursday

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Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale-Max Ernst 1924
There are fewer paintings that fully convey the peculiar quality of dreams. The clever incorporation of painted wood effects further enhances the uncanny atmosphere.

An open gate invites us in. Against a backdrop of De Chirico-esqe classical ruins and under a cloudless summer sky that is somehow too vast  we see a young girl brandishing a knife to see off a nightingale, meanwhile her companion has fallen into a swoon. Dwarfing the entire landscape is a wooden shed where a strange faceless figure is clutching another young girl while reaching for the knob attached to the picture  frame.

Ernst said that during a  fevered hallucination the wood grain panelling took on “successively the aspect of an eye, a nose, a bird’s head, a menacing nightingale, a spinning top, and so on.”

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51 thoughts on “A Week of Max Ernst: Thursday

  1. This is really cool. I think the gate and the doorknob on the frame put this over the top. Menacing birds – wonder if Hitchcock dreamt of the same thing. I’m on the train to Philadelphia and the art museum at the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s funny that he titled this about the two children and bird. To me, the most prevalent part is the faceless man carrying the child. That’s scarier than the bird. It seems like he’s carting her away out of the scene and who knows where. Someplace terrifying where they have no faces. I like the mixed media aspect of this. Very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

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