This is The King Playing the Queen by Max Ernst, made in 1944 in the US.
It was shown at the recent Paris exhibition, but I wonder why the curators didn’t present the whole story.
Max Ernst was living in the US at the time, with his wife, Dorothea Tanning, They were a happy couple, as evidenced by this photo – even with their backs against each other:
They were both artists, and they both loved playing chess:
He created the wooden set in the picture to reflect symbolic meanings of chess pieces and the game, overall. It was a long process, with a lot of drawings, and clay models he was perfecting along the way.
His wooden pieces were later made in glass.
A chess player, who is accustomed to watching the board from above, may find extra enjoyment in studying it from different angles. Professional chess players often talk of a very special type of beauty that the game seems to possess. Well, even to my amateurish eye, there’s lots of beauty, danger, threat, and excitement in these arrangements:
Max Ernst gave the name “Immortal” to his chess masterpiece. This is a very rare case of something surreal becoming very much a real part of this world.
I wonder why it has never been mass-produced.
Chess itself can be a very versatile artistic medium.
Even an ordinary set of pieces can bring to life the most complicated and even abstract concepts:
Imagine how far an artistic mind could go with Max Ernst’s chess set!
If you want to read the whole surrealism series, click on the surreal tag at the bottom.