Learning @ La Biblioteca

The Surrealism Movement

By Gabriel Sencial

Surrealism probably had more influence on 20th century art than any other movement except Cubism. It began as a literary movement, involving a special philosophy and lifestyle for its members and has been compared to religion in its aim and practices. It lost no opportunity to attack the Pope as a symbol of the restrictive authority of the established order, and it replaced him with one of its own, the poet André Breton (1896-1966) who was capable of “excommunicating” those he thought misguided or recalcitrant: Salvador Dali was expelled in 1937. Breton developed a political program for the improvement of society, but in practice, because politics invariably involve compromise, this proved incompatible with the major Surrealist aim of exploring and liberating the creative powers of the unconscious mind.

Lecture: The Surrealism Movement. Wed, Feb 8, 3pm. Teatro Santa Ana, La Biblioteca, Reloj 50A. Donations: 60 pesos

Influenced by Gauguin’s work in Tahiti, the Surrealists wanted an art to wonder and marvel, something miraculous and mystical. They were great collectors of the products of “primitive” cultures such as Oceanic sculpture. In European painting they looked behind the classical tradition for obsessions and eccentricities of vision and imagination, for example, the views of hell with its hybrid monsters by Hieronymus Bosch (1453-1516). They found Impressionism too naturalistic, too rational, and found Cubism too rational and logical and preferred Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist dream-like images, as well as the “primitive” vision of the Metaphysical painters.

In 1930, André Breton’s second Manifeste du surréalisme was published, in which he defined “surreality” as the reconciliation of the reality of dreams with the reality of everyday life into a higher synthesis. The major belief being that access to reality could only be gained through the unconscious mind.

There is no dominant painting style in Surrealism, yet in technique three tendencies were exhibited. The first tendency was that of discovering imagery by mechanical techniques where chance was exploited. The purpose was to “irritate” the vision, to stimulate the imagination and to force inspiration. The second tendency, sometimes called Veristic Surrealism, was to depict with meticulous clarity and often in great detail a world analogous to the dream world.  The third main Surrealist tendency drew more attention to the materials used by the artist. This tendency survived the break-up of the Surrealist movement during the Second World War.




Church vs. State in Mexico: The Cristero Wars, 1926-1929

By Robert de Gast


Robert de Gast will present a lecture on the violent confrontation in the 1920s between the Roman Catholic Church and the Mexican government that resulted in a civil war. The title of the talk is “Church vs State in Mexico: The Cristero Wars.” De Gast, a photographer and writer, is a long-time San Miguel resident and the author of, most recently, The World of San Miguel de Allende: An Uncommon Guide, and nine other books. The talk will explore the origins of the Wars and present details of the savage fighting and political squabbling that ensued.

Lecture: Church vs. State in Mexico: The Cristero Wars, 1926-1929 By Robert de Gast. Tue, Feb 7, 5pm. Teatro Santa Ana, La Biblioteca, Reloj 50A. 70 pesos

On July 31, 1926, religious exercises in Mexico were suspended by the Church and for three years no church bells rang, no Mass was celebrated, no sacraments offered anywhere in Mexico. The clergy were on strike and the Church vs State conflict that had been brewing for years broke out into the open. Mexico’s 1917 Constitution was not acceptable to the Church. Whoever swore allegiance to that charter was excommunicated. All catholics were urged to carry on a boycott of purchasing in order to paralyze the national economy. Religious rebels, calling themselves “Cristeros,” after their battle cry “Viva Cristo Rey” (Long Live Christ the King), attacked government forces. The government treated priests as outlaws. San Miguel de Allende did not escape some of the carnage.

Nearly 80,000 people were killed in battles, raids, and skirmishes. The U.S. government became in involved in negotiations to end the conflict, which was finally officially resolved in 1929, although tensions persisted for the next 10 years.

The talk will last about an hour. The admission charge of 70 pesos benefits the Library’s many programs. Seating is limited.


Video & Lecture

Life after Life

Fri, Feb 10, 4pm

Sala Quetzal

La Biblioteca

Reloj 50A

Donations 60 pesos


Life after Life

By Thomas Kasche


There are numerous beliefs and questions about what we will experience when we die. Does life end? Is there nothing? Is there a heaven? Do we sit on a cloud and listen to the angels sing? Do we meet god? Is there a judgment day? Do we burn in hell because we were a sinner?

People who have died can only answer these questions and most of us do not know anyone who has come back from the dead to give us the answers.Dr. Raymond Moody, PhD, in his book, Life after Life, interviewed over 2,000 people who have had a near-death experience. Some of these people were clinically dead for as long as three days! He wanted to know what the person’s consciousness was experiencing while the body was clinically dead.

In the video Life after Life, you will see and listen to the stories of six of the people from the book. Listening to them speak about what it feels like to be dead, can change forever the way you look and feel about death. All fear is replaced with the feeling of love for the experience.

That what we call death is a reuniting of that part of our consciousness that is focused in our bodies, with the greater part of us that has always been, and will always be, non-physically focused.

We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Find out what those words really mean in your life

This is a video that if I could only take one suitcase to my next place of living, Life after Life would be in it.


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