Art History, Artists, Painters, Surrealism

The Spanish Surrealist

Remedios Varo was a Spanish (Arglés, Girona, 1908) para-surrealist painter. She studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. During the Spanish Civil War, she moved to Paris where she was very influenced by the surrealist movement. Then she returns to Spain, where she becomes a member of the art group Logicofobia.

Due to her republican ties, she needed to move to Paris again ensured that she would never be able to return to Franco’s Spain. In 1941, she moved to Mexico City where she lived the rest of her life.

Characteristics of her work

At the beginning of her artistic career the works were related to the vanguard movements, more specifically to a very personal surrealism. But it is possible to appreciate the influence of Renaissance art in the harmony, tonal nuances, unity and the narrative structures.

The allegorical nature of her paintings recalls the paintings of Bosch, some critics have described her art as “postmodern allegory” much in the tradition of irrealism, one of them is Dean Swinford.

Her works are characterized by an abundance of images that combine poetry and humour.  For example: Modelo de traje para vagabundo (Vagabond) of 1957 and Vampiros vegetarianos (Vegeta vampires) of 1962.

Vagabond , 1957

Varo works were a mix of very different influences. She was not influenced only by Renaissance painters, but also by styles as diverse as those of painters Goya, Picasso and Braque; and by a wide range of hermetic and mystic traditions, both Western and non-Western. She was fascinated with the legend of Holy Grail, sacred geometry and alchemy.

Vegeta Vampires, 1962


Her work challenged the traditional patriarchy, but it was never her intention, it was mainly because Wolfgang Paalen theories about the origins of civilization in matriarchal cultures as pre-Mayan in Mexico, where she lived.


All images used in this post are from wikiart.

The websites below are in Spanish.

Months ago I wrote a post about one of her paintings called Summer.

3 thoughts on “The Spanish Surrealist”

Comments are closed.