Come and visit our new collection website, featuring over 90,000 new object records and 35,000 newly digitised artworks
Elegant Gestures of the Drowned after Max Ernst 1986

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
In this painting, a suited figure (perhaps the artist himself) wedges himself between St Christopher and the infant Christ, and seems intent on guiding the latter to a watery end. The sheep, the hilly landscape and the presence of the Union Jack may refer to the Falklands War of 1982. Campbell was influenced by the stories of P.G. Wodehouse, murder mystery magazines and children's book illustrations. Like many of Campbell's paintings, this work has a surreal quality and features male characters involved in bizarre, apparently nonsensical activities.

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 3296
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 262.00 x 238.40 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1987