My Windows Look Sideways
© Roland Penrose Estate, England 2010.The Roland Penrose Collection. All rights reserved.

Reference URL

My Windows Look Sideways 1939
This type of word-picture was almost certainly inspired by the work of the surrealist artist Joan Miró, who explored language in his paintings of the mid-1920s. Surrealism was as much a literary movement as a visual one with writers and poets abandoning the rules of language in favour of ambiguity and uncertainty. This corresponded to artists, such as Miró, who juxtaposed text with fragmented imagery in a dream-like fashion. The combination of the two meant that the words and images became equal partners, joint in their aim to elude interpretation. Here, Penrose, who was one of the central figures of the British Surrealist group, has combined a jumbled, ambiguous statement with fantastical imagery of an eyeball, a star and figures in panes of glass to create a bizarre and perplexing image.

Glossary Open


A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.



  • Acc. No. GMA 3911
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 30.50 x 51.00 cm
  • Credit Presented by Mr Antony Penrose 1995