Murdering Airplane

Death in Art depicted by Murdering Airplane

Murdering Airplane by Max Ernst

Murdering Airplane by Max Ernst was produced in 1920 and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Metaphysical art movement. The work can be viewed now at Private Collection


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): death, war


Murdering Airplane is a collage produced in 1920 by German painter Max Ernst.

Murdering Airplane was inspired by World War I in which Ernest also served as a warrior.

This painting depicts a monstrous airplane with human arms although unrealistic giving it a surrealist feel and it was flying over an open field. In the lower right-hand corner of the painting, there were two soldiers carrying a third soldier. The third soldier was badly wounded in the war. The Dada movement was created after World War I as a critical response to the war. Max Ernest had significance with this movement who had served in the war. Through his work of Murdering Airplane, he wanted to convey the scenes of aerial warfare that he saw from his own eyes, occurred in that war. The Murdering Airplane itself had human arms that could swoop down to kill enemy foes.

Max Ernest tries to stand out the color of the Murdering Airplane as well as the soldiers on the ground which reminds the viewers of the horrors of the First World War I in the west. The image of the aircraft not only abstracts that it was a machine controlled by the pilot but also an extension of humans. The scene was colored rather grey and gloomy with spots of color as Ernest wanted to draw the attention of the viewer towards the soldiers and the plane.

Murdering Airplane was a very small collage by the famous surrealist Max Ernst. He wanted to maintain the simplicity of the painting such that it would be easier to understand the horrors of the war. There was an absence of background and a small number of figures and peoples. The Monsterous creature machine dominates the sky as well as the painting. The dimensions of the painting Murdering Airplane were 6.35 cm × 13.97 cm or 2 1⁄2 in × 5 1⁄2 in.

The work cannot be viewed and owned as Private collection


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