Max Ernst
The Entire City 1934

Artwork details

Max Ernst 1891–1976
The Entire City
La Ville entière
Date 1934
Medium Oil paint on paper on canvas
Dimensions Support: 502 x 613 mm
frame: 696 x 798 x 47 mm
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from the Knapping Fund 1941
Not on display

Display caption

A crumbling city looms oppressively below the ring-shaped moon. Ernst made a whole series of such works. The imagery may reflect his pessimism as Nazism took hold in his native Germany. The ruined cityscape was created using a technique that Ernst called ‘grattage’ (scraping). It involved placing the canvas over planks of wood or other textured surfaces, then scraping paint across it. The shapes that emerged formed the basis of the image. Grattage was one of a number of techniques that Surrealist artists explored as a way of letting a chance element into their work.

July 2008

About this artwork