Madonna of the Setting Sun


Eileen Agar (1899–1991)

Although the Madonna is often depicted with a halo around her head, the Madonna by Agar is not. Instead, her halo drifts off and is represented as a setting sun. This is one of the elements characteristic of the Surrealist movement, deconstructed a familiar figure and renders it unusual. The film below is titled Anémic Cinéma and was created in 1926 by Marcel Duchamp. It represents one of the founding elements of the Surrealist Movement.

As proportions as presently.
Father and farther.
Was the king or room.
Farther and whether.
Was there was there was there what was there was there what was there was there there was there.
Whether and in there.
As even say so.

— Gertrude Stein, “A Portrait of Picasso”

Stein’s poem captures the same deconstructive nature as Agar’s painting. Although Stein uses various sounds to create a portrait of Picasso, Agar uses various materials to create the image of Madonna.

Gnossienne no. 3 by Erik Satie