Max Ernst was a provocateur, a shocking and innovative artist who mined his unconscious for dreamlike imagery that mocked social conventions. Closely associated with Dada and Surrealism, Max Ernst made paintings, sculptures, and prints depicting fantastic, nightmarish images that often made reference to anxieties originating in childhood. Ernst demonstrated a profound interest in Freudian psychoanalysis, which is apparent in his exploration of Automatism and his invention of the Frottage technique. The artist’s psychoanalytic leanings are evident in his iconic 1923 work Pietà, or Revolution by Night, in which Ernst substitutes the image of Mary cradling the body of Christ with a depiction of the artist himself held by his father. Much of the artist’s work defied societal norms, Christian morality, and the aesthetic standards of Western academic art.nterested in locating the origin of his own creativity, Ernst attempted to freely paint from his inner psyche and in an attempt to reach a pre-verbal state of being. Doing so unleashed his primal emotions and revealed his personal traumas, which then became the subject of his collages and paintings. This desire to paint from the sub-conscious, also known as automatic painting was central to his Surrealist works and would later influence the Abstract Expressionists.