Picturing the cosmos : Surrealism, astronomy, astrology, and the Tarot, 1920s-1940s
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This dissertation explores the presence and meaning of astronomical elements in the creative work of Surrealist artists and writers who were involved with the movement from the 1920s to the 1940s. Set against a backdrop of widespread popular interest in astronomy in France during these decades and those directly preceding them, Surrealists such as André Breton, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Wolfgang Paalen, Oscar Domínguez, Matta, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and Kurt Seligmann all addressed cosmic themes in their artistic production. This dissertation identifies and analyzes their varied engagement with such themes, including their presence in the related areas of astrology and the Tarot. The heavens offered the Surrealists a rich terrain for invention—one that could be seen as scientific or occult, fanciful or factual, as well as ancient or up-to-date. In their quest to access previously unknown realms of reality, the Surrealists found in the little-explored and often strange territory of outer space a new realm for creative invention. As such, these artists and writers projected their surreal visions onto the universe in their continued search for the marvelous.