If you’ve ever seen visual art from the Surrealist period, you may be scratching your head and wondering what’s going on. That’s because Surrealist artists wanted to use art to show the inner workings of the mind, especially in regards to areas of sexuality or violence, which they considered to be frequently oppressed. In fact, artists often sought psychoanalysis to dig up deep, repressed feelings to use for inspiration. Take a look at this painting by Magritte. What do you think was going on in his unconscious mind? The reality is, Magritte and other Surrealist artists wanted to create work that made the viewer think. None of the art has a solid answer. In fact, Surrealist art has a few characteristics you may notice.

Surrealist art often uses dream imagery to show the inner workings of the mind. Have you ever had a dream that your teeth were falling out or that you were flying? Surrealists used images like this in their art to create instinctive meanings the viewer would not need rational thought to understand.