Surrealism and the Marvellous

Until Sun 2 Jun 2019

Open daily, 10am-5pm

Admission Free


Unlike Impressionism or Cubism, Surrealism was never a style; instead it was a way of thinking that found expressionism in painting, literature, photography, film, architecture and fashion. Surrealism means 'beyond realism'. The Surrealists sought to go beyond the world of 'visible reality' and instead investigate dreams, the unconscious, the irrational, the absurd and the fantastic.

This display focuses on works by Dalí, Ernst, Magritte and many other Surrealist artists.  There are also African and Oceanic sculptures on display alongside a cabinet of curiosities.

Image: René Magritte, Le Drapeau noir [The Black Flag], 1937
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016.

Surreal Encounters: An Introduction to Surrealism


This film introduces the beginnings of the Dada and Surrealist movements, telling the story of their development in both Europe and Britain. Surrealists referenced include Joan Miró, André Breton, Roland Penrose, René Magritte and Salvador Dalí.

The film was produced to coincide with the exhibition 'Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous' which brought together some of the finest Surrealist works of art from four legendary collections, those of Roland Penrose, Edward James, Gabrielle Keiller and Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch.

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Event accessibility

Display accessibility

  • Large print labels
  • Wheelchair access


Gallery facilities

In order to protect our vulnerable works of art from any kind of accidental damage we kindly ask all visitors to either carry their rucksack/backpack by hand or place it in a locker.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Hearing loop
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • On-site parking (£2)
  • Disabled parking
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack

Getting here

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.

75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Related events

Related events

Lecture or talk

Books in Focus: Salvador Dali

Modern Two

Thu 7 Mar and Sat 9 Mar
2:30 - 3:30pm


+1 other sessions

Our Friends

Our Friends

Friends of the Galleries get free unlimited entry to all exhibitions, and enjoy a wide range of exclusive benefits including early exhibition access, special events and 10% discount in our cafes.

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