Home > Dream Analysis > How Dreams Can Become Art

How Dreams Can Become Art

By: Libby Pelham BA - Updated: 5 Dec 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
How Dreams Can Become Art

Did you know that certain pieces of art have been inspired by dreams? This phenomenon is known as Dream Art. It can also include art that uses dream-like imagery; however there are many important pieces of art that you may not realise were inspired by the artist's dream.

The History Of Dream Art

Artwork has referenced dreams for thousands of years. The story of Gilgamesh, the Bible, and the Iliad all speak of dreams and their meanings. However, dream art didn't come about until much later. During the Romantic Movement, visions seen during dreams then used as material were viewed as being representative of the artist's highest potential. Symbolism and Expressionism of the late 19th and 20th century also used dream imagery. It was August Strindberg, a Swedish writer of the Expressionism literary movement, who was the first to coin the term 'dream play,' one that did not distinguish between fantasy and reality.

At the same time, Sigmund Freud was also influencing the Surrealists with his theories about dreams and the subconscious mind. The Surrealists took Freud's theories and the visionary impulses of the Romantics and Expressionists and realised that dreams and their content could be just as significant, if not more so, than reality in art.

Through the years, a wide range of artists has used their dreams as inspirations. Even comic books and comic strips have explored dreams, most notably Winsor McCay's 'Little Nemo' in which the character always awoke from a dream in the last panel.

Examples of Dream Art

As far as visual art - painting, photography, printmaking, and filmmaking - goes, there are several artists who have been inspired by visions in their dreams. Of his painting 'Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening,' Salvador Dali said it was intended to express Freud's discovery of the typical dream. Dali also delved a bit into filmmaking. He was responsible for the dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, which explores the themes of psychoanalysis.

It is said that Mary Shelley got her inspiration for 'Frankenstein' from a dream. She and Percy Bysshe Shelley were visiting Lord Byron in 1816. Cooped up inside due to cold and dreary weather, the group read ghost stories then challenged each other to compose their own scary tale. Mary had a dream in which she saw a student kneeling next to a 'thing' he had created. That vision was the basis for 'Frankenstein'.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan' (subtitled A Vision in a Dream) is believed to be based upon a dream or hallucination inspired by opium use. Robert Louis Stevenson, intrigued by the idea of the duality of human nature, dreamed of two or three scenes that would later appear in his classic 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'.

In film, Andrei Takovsky (Mirror), Sergei Parajanov (Sayat Nova and Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors), David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, and Mullholland Drive), and Federico Fellini (Amarcord and 8 ½) all use their own dreams for inspiration or featured dream-like sequences in their work.

Even music is inspired by dreams. Paul McCartney is said to have composed the entire melody for the Beatles' hit 'Yesterday' in a dream. Upon waking, he immediately went to the piano and played the tune into a tape recorder to keep from forgetting it. The instrumental piece 'La Villa Strangiato' by the band Rush was inspired by guitarist Alex Lifeson's dream.

The subconscious mind has no boundaries, therefore artists, to create totally uninhibited works of art, often use dreams and visions as inspiration.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@babycake - some dreams we have can make us feel really insecure especially a dream like this. But it doesn't actually mean anything as dreams can be very spontaneous and come seemingly from nowhere. Once the dream fades from his consciousness in a few days, he should begin to forget all about it. In the meantime all you can do is reassure him that it's just a dream that has no substance whatsoever.
Sal - 5-Dec-14 @ 10:46 AM
my boyfriend dreamt that he caught me having sex with my ex partner in his mum's house, he's now convinced there's something going on between us.. i would like to know what it means and why he would have such a dream. we've been together for 4 years.
babycake - 4-Dec-14 @ 2:09 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Bridge
    Re: What It Means When You Dream About Birds
    Hi so what about when you dream that a group of blue birds fly into your room and they are happy and one bird in…
    19 February 2019
  • Gail
    Re: Dreams of Losing or Finding Something
    Had a weird dream. I found food on my wallet (along with some money) while was out eating with my old friends. I was…
    16 February 2019
  • Lew
    Re: What Triggers Dreams About Being Attacked?
    I have been having a pretty stressful time since breaking up with my ex, shes been causing me alot of trouble,…
    16 February 2019
  • Lloyd
    Re: Dreams Involving Cars
    I fell asleep about 10pm woke up around 1am and had a really vivid dream which felt unbelievably real, it started off me being in my…
    16 February 2019
  • Nitu
    Re: Dreams of Losing or Finding Something
    I had a dream looking for my backpack and I claiming up and down, trees and looked everywhere but I did not…
    15 February 2019
  • james2267
    Re: Why Would My Girlfriend Dream of Her Ex?
    I'm so happy sharing my testimony for everyone to know that there is a solution to your relationship/marriage…
    15 February 2019
  • Brends
    Re: Dreams of Travel
    It is my second day now that I am having a dream of suggesting that I am about to travel but haven't fix my luggage yet .. then I am…
    11 February 2019
  • Vital pulp
    Re: Dreams of Being Lost
    I had dreamt of being lost in unfamiliar surrounding and j am unable to make any kind of contact with my family but after being asked the…
    10 February 2019
  • Wise
    Re: Dreams of the Phone Not Working
    I have a dream, I was under a tree and others was around there too and heard an alarming noise and when I turn, I saw a girl…
    7 February 2019
  • Besherta
    Re: Native American Dream Analysis: Iroquois
    I was wondering what heyoka means, when I was a kid there was a local band that was I guess semi famous in Texas…
    5 February 2019