This large work was painted while Ernst was working with the surrealist group in Paris, and seems to highlight his oedipal conflicts with his father - the Surrealists were fascinated with psychology and the theories of Sigmund Freud. The 'young girl' may be the artist's dead sister, in which case an incestuous triangle of father, son and daughter is implied. Ernst used a technique that he invented, called 'grattage' to create the forest. This involves the painted canvas being laid over a rough wooden surface and scraped to produce a rich, grainy texture. The large ring in the background represents the sun.