Max Ernst – The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child (1926)

A true innovator and provocateur, German artist Max Ernst was one of the leading figures of Surrealism and the Dada art movements, blending in mythology, Christian iconography and Freudian psychology in his dark, dreamlike artworks. The gruesome experience of fighting during World War I made him realize that the world was irrational, objective reality being…

Frida Kahlo – Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926)

Bedridden after the gruesome accident that left her pelvis, legs, spinal column, collarbone and ribs fractured, Frida Kahlo spent her long convalescence painting, reading voraciously, studying German and Italian Renaissance art and writing passionate letters to her boyfriend, Alejandro Gómez Arias. Although the couple was once inseparable, after the accident Alejandro started pulling away and…

Ismael Nery – Desire for Love (1932)

“In the first place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it; for the original human nature was not like the present, but different”, says Aristophanes, the Greek playwright, at the beginning of his speech in Plato’s Symposium. “The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally…

Edgar Degas – The Ballet Class (1871 – 1874)

Compared to the other Impressionists, Edgar Degas was more of a traditionalist. The Frenchman didn’t paint en plein air, his color palette was subdued for much of his career and his spontaneity was painstakingly rehearsed. With a fascination for human anatomy reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci, he would do countless studies for one single painting….

Salvador Dalí – Galatea of the Spheres (1952)

When Salvador Dalí fell in love with Gala she was married to the French poet Paul Éluard, while the Spaniard was on the brink of gaining recognition for his visionary talent. It was three years before Dalí would paint his memorable work, The Persistence of Memory. Perhaps Gala had an innate ability to spot undetected talent,…