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Observations of Surrealism, Apparitions and Harry Potter

Updated: Aug 10

Three years before J. K. Rowling was born, Remedios Varo (Mexican) completed this masterpiece painting, Embroidering the Earth's Mantle, 1961 (oil on masonite). For me, this painting was one of the many show stoppers in the current exhibit: Surrealism Beyond Boarders at the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, which closes on January 30, 2022, before going to The Tate in London in February. This painting depicts a masked task master, similar to Professor Snape, who is overseeing young scribes toil with unflinching percision at to weave the surface of earth from a common thread their sovereign stirs while casting spells.

Here in Night Flight of Dread and Delight, 1964, by Ethiopian painter Skunder Boghossian, we are again reminded of the flying mystical creatures in the night sky over Hogwarts from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (published by Rowling in 1997). One might even see Professor McGonagall's cat like face emmerge from the flying figure on the left. A Million stars fill this night sky with rich mystisim.

Lastly, see Eine kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music), by Dorothea Tanning (American) 1943, which brings to mind Moaning Myrtle, Petunia Dursie and Harmione Granger, wandering trance-like through the halls of Hogwarts, reimagining and transforming themselves before the viewer much like a narative from Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov's 1955 novel Lolita.

Certainly, this is all just my quickly jotted perspective, after having seen this incredible exhibit and needing to process it in a way that would have a broad appeal. I leave you with the above painting Le messager (The messenger), 1941, by Austrian/Mexican surrealist, Wolfgang Paalen. Here it appears he depicts an enlightened (flying?) spiritual being hovering above the surface, wide eyed and all knowing. Remember, please, not to kill the messenger.

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