At the fold of nineteenth century when a tired post-impressionism was dying, a raucous movement led by Henry Matisse, known as Fauvism (Fauve, pronounced Fa-O in French, means wild beast) characterized by bold distortion of form and use of dazzling pure colors shocked public’s sensibility. Not satisfied Marcel Duchamp moved one step ahead with Dadaism which completely outraged public's perception of art. These artists would put up things like skewed shit-pot against pristine white wall and present it as piece of sculpture. But, thankfully public's capacity to absorb shock is very brittle therefore soon fatigue set in and these movements quickly petered off. One positive spin off of this shock and awe was to energize moribund artists and goaded them to think more innovatively. Soon more sedate cubism, abstract art forms of expressionism appeared and also mystic dream like fantasy of Surrealism swept Europe.
Surrealism is about mystery, stillness of time and a dream like fantasy, something akin to Sufism in spiritual realm. The magic of surrealism never seems to fade because it is our nature. The most representative painting of Surrealism is Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory, you can find surrealism in literature and Photographs too. Just look for these elements; Mystery, fantasy and complete stillness!