Max Ernst, "Une semaine de bonté" — the Original Collages

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drawing
Max ErnstThe Court of the Dragon 4© Photo Peter Ertl. © ADAGP, Paris 2009
Third Book
Tuesday
Element: Le Feu (Fire)
Example: La cour du dragon (The Court of the Dragon)


The story begins in 'La cour du dragon' in Paris and continues among the bourgeoisie. Dragons and serpents rub shoulders with human beings, who themselves have the wings of a dragon or a bat, or even of an angel.
The fire of passion, the opposite element to the natural force of water, leads to tragedies symbolised by attributes or animals plunged into this bourgeois hell. The surreal motifs on the walls and door panels express the dreams, fears and hidden desires of the bourgeoisie.

drawing
Max ErnstOedipus 21© Photo Peter Ertl. © ADAGP, Paris 2009
Fourth Book
Wednesday
Element: Le sang (Blood)
Example: Œdipe (Oedipus)

The mythical character of Oedipus is here depicted with the head of a bird. The collages tell his story, the murder of his father, in particular, and the riddle of the Sphinx. The most famous of them all is devoted to how his parents wounded his feet to be sure that he would never come back after being abandoned. Taken in and adopted by Polybus, the king of Corinth, the child is given the name Oedipus meaning "swollen foot" in ancient Greek.
In Ernst's work, the scene where he is wounded, the result of a surrealist transposition, shows a bird-man stabbing the foot of a naked woman with a dagger.



Dessin
Max ErnstL'île de Pâques 2© Photo Peter Ertl. © ADAGP, Paris 2009
Last Book
Thursday
Element: Le noir (Darkness)
First example: Le rire du coq (The Cockerel's Laughter)
"Those who are merry sometimes turn their behinds towards the sky and cast their excrement in the face of other men; then they strike their own bellies lightly." Marcel Schwob (L'Anarchie [Anarchy]).

"Laughter is probably doomed to disappear." Marcel Schwob (Le rire [Laughter]).

Another example: L'île de Pâques (The Easter Islands)
"The stones are full of entrails. Bravo. Bravo." Arp

Once again, Max Ernst uses emblems to represent different forms of power.
In the first series of images, the Gaulish cockerel symbolises the French state. In the second, the heads of the cruel characters we have seen so far, are changed into the stone effigies of Easter Island.<//strong>

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