People don’t know anything, Max Ernst

People don’t know anything, Max Ernst
People don't know anything, Max Ernst - 1

  • Posted by Max Ernst
  • Museum: Tate Gallery
  • Year: 1923

Overview of the painting :

People don’t know anything – Max Ernst. 1923. Oil on canvas. 80.3 x 63.8 cm

   The expressed sexual implication of this picture is a reflection of the free thought that possessed the minds at that time. Nowadays, this canvas looks rather modest and restrained, but in the 20s it was a real “lap of public opinion.”.

   If some images in the picture can be clearly identified enough (man, woman, blanket, moon, night, hand of a hidden ruler pulling the strings of sexual desire), then the rest of the elements are a pure mystery, a spacious field for violent fantasy looking at the canvas.

   The saturated blue background of the picture with a smooth transition from a light to a deep velvet hue can easily be connected with the atmosphere, and therefore the very existence of mankind. The image takes on a deeper philosophical meaning than it seems at first glance. One cannot but note the contrast and expressiveness of the picture, where each detail has a clear shape and perfectly defined outlines. For the same purpose, open, local colors are used almost without halftones, which is why the whole work seems to be written in gouache or tempera, rather than oil.

   The picture is interesting in that everyone looking at it sees different images. They are born in his brain under the influence of the image and existing life experience.