Loplop, Superior of Birds

Loplop Introduces Loplop-Max Ernst 1930

The German Surrealist Max Ernst was one of the most outstanding artists and personalities of the Surrealist movement. Notable for the invention of a number of automatic artistic techniques, his body of work is also remarkable for its creation of a densely rich personal mythology.

Central to that mythology is Ernst’s alter ego, Loplop, Superior of Birds. As I noted in my previous post A Week of Max Ernst: Monday, Ernst wrote that he hatched from an egg which his mother had laid in an eagle’s nest. He traced the figure of Loplop to a traumatic childhood event: his beloved pet bird had died on the same day that his younger sister was born and he consequently conflated the two events to the point that he confused birds with humans.

As well as referencing Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Ernst, whose art is drenched in alchemy and esotericism, would surely have been familiar with the idea of the language of the birds; the perfect, divine language found in mythology and the occult sciences that can only be understood by the initiated.

Loplop first appeared  in his ground-breaking collage novels La Femme 100 Têtes  and Une semaine de bonté. Birds are a recurring feature in Ernst’s artwork in various media (see A Week of Max Ernst: TuesdayA Week of Max Ernst: Thursday & A Week of Max Ernst: Friday). I have also included a photo of Ernst’s striking, and it has to be admitted, birdlike visage.

Loplop and the Mouse's Horoscope
Loplop and the Mouse’s Horoscope-1929
Loplop et la Belle Jardinière-Max Ernst, 1929
Loplop et la Belle Jardinière= Max Ernst, 1929
Une Semaine de Bonté, Max Ernst, 1934
Une Semaine de Bonté, Max Ernst, 1934
Une semaine de bonté-Max Ernst 1934
Une semaine de bonté-Max Ernst 1934
Birds also Birds, Fish Snake and Scarecrow-Max Ernst 1921
La colombe avait raison,-Max Ernst 1926
La colombe avait raison,-Max Ernst 1926
Max Ernst-Man Ray 1934
Max Ernst-Man Ray 1934

27 thoughts on “Loplop, Superior of Birds

  1. Around the same time you posted this, [I had to go back to WordPress], I asked the Sabian Oracle the significance of 11:11 for me and was very happy to receive 8* Capricorn…birds in the house sing happily.
    I feed many native birds here daily and many of them are currently nesting so I am curiously waiting to see what crop of babies will survive the rigours of infancy.
    So yes I practically have them happily singing in the house which also makes me happy.
    The birds do have an amazing communication network which I have been privileged to observe over the years.
    I think that they can in some strange way also express “light?” syllables, but I really don’t understand this.
    So many of the birds around here are quite long living and very intelligent. I love observing and interacting with them daily.
    A fascinating post thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for a fascinating comment back…I am very interested in numerology and the 11:11 certainly seems to have significance. Of course it could be chance but I don’t believe there is any such thing. Birds are wonderful and I have been dreaming about them a lot lately. As a bird lover you are in luck, this week i will be posting about birds in art, literature, mythology and movies, hopefully anyway. More about the language of birds as well. Thank you again.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m really curious about the Semaine de Bonte illustrations. That first one especially. I’m running on fumes this evening so I’ll have to return to this tomorrow. Bonne huit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s some wonderful post. I really like birds, see them everywhere, just like a cat. Well, without the hunting drive…
    And doves just rock. I just love to study them, think one can see that in my latest work for you.
    What is very interesting about birds language is the redundancies. Well, every language has it, but the birds one is special in that way I think. That’s what makes it even more likeable for me, as I’m a person of repetition, especially in regard of music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I am also obsessed by birds, I find their flight formations formations. As for redundancies and repetitions, well I am all for them in music…repetition is just another word for being mesmerised, and that is magic.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That first piece: The Mouse Horoscope: his hand appears not only to be claw/talon like in reaching for the mouse, but also my immediate impression was of a draftsman’s compass tracing a circle. Wonder where that came from? 🙃 The next image is super strange, the smaller bird seems to be half dragon and plunging its reptilian tail down the throat of the man. My sleepy head is making strange connections to the end times when the dragon is hurled down and the birds of the fields will pick clean the dead bodies of the wicked. Anyway… I suppose you could stare at these artworks and find all sorts of details leading to a number of interpretations. Birds are amazing creatures. Occasionally the starlings gather en masse on my lawn and the field across the road. They cover the ground and the surrounding swath of trees to the extent that everything is a writhing black mass. And the noise is deafening. But after they’ve collected themselves, they’re gone just as quickly. They do fly off in formation but the trees obscure a good view of it. I’ve got photos somewhere. I’ll have to look for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ernst is always mysterious. So many ways to interprets his work. But birds are mysterious as well. They is also Jesus saying ‘look to the birds of the air, they sow not or reap not, but my Lord Father provides for them’. They were here a long time before mammals appeared and they will be here a long time after.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bizarre and quite beautiful…one, three, five, and six. # 6, a favorite. The others are a bit beyond my comfort zone, they surely stir the imagination in many directions. Ernst, what was he thinking?. Birds play a huge part in many artistic genre’s. There is rarely a poem that I don’t use a bird metaphor, such fragile and mysterious creatures,representing love, cruelty, death, and of course flight, and I could go on. Thank you for this wonderful display and an in depth look into this artist and his incongruous artwork.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Heart. Ernst is a favourite here, having an alter ego as a bird is just..either marvellous or cracked. Birds are such a vast store of symbolism. Thanks for the detailed comment and I will be on the look out for your bird imagery!

      Liked by 1 person

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