Max Ernst, “Euclid”, 1945, Oil on Canvas, 65 x 57.5 cm, Menil Collection, Houston, Texas
In Max Ernst’s 1945 “Euclid”, a surrealist portrait of the ancient Geometer is presented in abstract form with the figure’s head rendered as a geometric solid, resembling a pyramid. The wise man is clad in noble, velvet clothes, rendered using the decalcomania technique, and adorned with two white roses. He is surrounded by a geometric background of overlapping planes, intersecting straight lines and rhodonea – like curves, some of which extend over its face, contributing to the formation of its features. His owl – like eyes, formed on an inverted antefix with the design of the ancient Greek anthemion ornament, glow bright yellow betraying intense intellectual activity.