Max Ernst’s Oedipus Rex painting is a symbolic artwork created in 1922. The painting portrays fingers sprouting from a brick wall that are grasping a perforated walnut. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex features the theme of irony, which plays an important part in this painting. Max Ernst was a German artist, who was influential in the Dada and Surrealist art movements, and also a poet, sculptor, and graphic artist.
In terms of analysis, the fingers emerging from the brick wall in the painting are a representation of the human psyche, while the pierced walnut signifies the hidden desires and secrets that lie within. The painting’s imagery conveys the idea of a subconscious realm full of anxiety and disturbing thoughts that individuals attempt to suppress by burying them deep inside. The fingers hint at phallic imagery, which is in line with Freudian theories about the relationship between power and sexual desire.