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Le Grand amoureux I [The Great Lover I] 1926

Not on display

The precise meanings of many of Ernst’s paintings are intentionally obscure. He was far more interested in poetic suggestion, mystery and ambiguity than in literal interpretations. This painting relates to another work called ‘The Inquisitor: at 7.07am Justice Shall be Done’. A comparison between the two paintings shows that the bowler-hatted man is holding a female figure, whose breasts are clearly visible, but whose head has developed into a curved shape. While the man emerges out of an imposing block-like structure, the small female shape he gently holds resembles a metronome. On the left of the painting, Ernst has used the technique of grattage to create texture.

Glossary Open


A painting technique by which forms and textures are scraped into the wet surface of the paint. From the French, meaning to scrape or scratch.



  • Acc. No. GMA 2134
  • Medium Oil and black crayon on canvas
  • Size 100.30 x 81.20 cm (Framed: 111.20 x 91.70 x 5.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1980