Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement, dedicated to expressing the imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and convention. Surrealism inherited an anti-rationalist sensibility from Dada, and was shaped by emerging theories on our perception of reality, especially Sigmund Freud's model of the subconscious.

The Movement was founded in Paris in 1924 by André Breton with his Manifesto of Surrealism. The aim of Surrealism was to reveal the unconscious and reconcile it with rational life. Surrealism also aimed at social and political revolution and for a time was affiliated to the Communist party.

There was no single style of Surrealist art but two broad types can be seen. These are the early dream-like work of Salvador Dali, and Rene Magritte, and the later free form or automatisic work by artist such as Max Ernst and Joan Miro. Surrealism has had a huge influence on art, literature and the cinema as well as on social attitudes and behaviour.