Max Ernst

La Joie de vivre [The Joy of Life]

About this artwork

This is one of a number of so-called 'jungle' pictures that Max Ernst painted in the late 1930s. His paintings of forests and tangled undergrowth derive from the rich Romantic heritage in German art. They also symbolise the fears and suppressed desires of the human mind. Looking at the picture more closely, the title becomes bitterly ironic. This jungle is actually ordinary undergrowth grown to enormous proportions, dwarfing a sculpture of a woman and animal living together in harmony. Instead of a paradise, the scene is a nightmarish one in which giant praying mantises do battle with other monsters in the entangled undergrowth.

see media
  • title:
    La Joie de vivre [The Joy of Life]
  • accession number:
    GMA 3886
  • artist:
    Max ErnstGerman (1891 - 1976)
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    1936
  • measurements:
    73.50 x 93.00 cm (framed: 108.50 x 89.40 x 8.50 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund 1995
  • copyright:
    © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018.
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Max Ernst

Max Ernst

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