The whimsical realm of surrealism, where reality intertwines with the bizarre and dreams take center stage. Surrealism, an artistic and literary movement born in the early 20th century, has fascinated and perplexed audiences for decades. Let’s embark on a journey to understand the essence of surrealism, its key characteristics, and the influential figures who have shaped this captivating artistic movement, and finally look at how this is applied in Midjourney .

A Dash of History

Surrealism emerged in the 1920s as a response to the devastation of World War I. Influenced by the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, surrealists sought to unlock the power of the unconscious mind and explore the depths of imagination. Led by André Breton, a French writer, poet, and critic, surrealism became a movement that aimed to revolutionize the way we perceive and experience reality.

The Dreamlike Canvas

At the heart of surrealism lies the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated and irrational elements. Surrealist artworks often depict dreamlike scenarios, absurd landscapes, and strange creatures that defy the laws of nature. The aim is to tap into the subconscious, to release hidden desires and fears, and to challenge the rationality imposed by society.

Renowned Artists and Their Masterpieces

Salvador Dalí, a true icon of surrealism, mesmerized the world with his imaginative and provocative paintings. From the melting clocks in “The Persistence of Memory” to the enigmatic “The Elephants,” Dalí’s works transport us to a realm where time and reality lose their grip. His uncanny ability to blend hyperrealism with fantastic elements leaves an indelible mark on the viewer’s mind.

Another influential figure, René Magritte, offered a more subtle and thought-provoking approach to surrealism. With works like “The Son of Man” and “The Treachery of Images” (you know, the one with the pipe), Magritte challenged our perception of reality by presenting familiar objects in unexpected contexts. Through his clever use of visual puzzles, he encouraged us to question the true nature of the world around us.

Surrealism with Midjourney

Surrealism can be adopted with your Midjourney experiments. To enable Midjourney to visualise your prompt with a whimsical nature add the keyword surrealism to your prompt.

Here are some images generated by Midjourney with and without surrealism included in the prompt.

Knight piece on a chess board

Midjourney prompt

Images produced by Midjourney may appear “surreal” at times, however, adding surrealism to the prompt shifts the output to closer to something Salvidor Dalhi would have produced.

Knight piece on a chess board, surrealism

Midjourney prompt

Inconsistencies are Perfection or Imperfection ?

While the examples above highlight the difference in adding “surrealism” to your prompt to generate surreal style of images. This does not always apply if the prompt that’s being imagined is already surreal charateristics.

Turtle in Alice in Wonderland

Midjourney prompt

The turtle in Alice in Wonderland serves as a symbolic representation of several surrealistic themes. Firstly, the turtle embodies the concept of metamorphosis. Throughout the story, Alice experiences numerous transformations, challenging the notion of a fixed identity. The turtle’s presence reinforces this theme by blurring the boundaries between different creatures and creating a sense of constant change.

Secondly, the turtle represents the idea of timelessness. Surrealism often plays with the notion of time, distorting and stretching it beyond logical constraints. The Mock Turtle, with its slow and sorrowful demeanor, seems trapped in an eternal moment, reflecting the surrealistic idea of time as fluid and elusive.

Therefore, with a prompt as above (“Turtle in Alice in Wonderland”) already contains surrealism, and Midjourney appears to have understood this while forming this image.

Passing the surrealism within your prompt doesn’t alter the image into a far more surreal image, if it can even amp this up even more. The images below depicts this behaviour.


Surrealism invites us to question our perception of reality and embrace the power of imagination. By harnessing the unpredictable and the extraordinary, surrealists have left an enduring mark on the art world. Whether through Salvador Dalí’s mind-boggling landscapes or René Magritte’s paradoxical images, surrealism captures our attention and propels us into uncharted territories of creativity.

So, next time you find yourself pondering the mysteries of the universe or daydreaming with your eyes wide open, remember the surrealists who dared to challenge the norm and unleash the full force of their wildest imaginings. Embrace the absurd, celebrate the bizarre, and allow yourself to get lost in the captivating world of surrealism, add that keyword into your prompt and see what Midjourney imagines.


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