Aquis Submersus

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Aquis Submersus
Aquis Submersus.jpg
ArtistMax Ernst
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions54 cm × 43.8 cm (21.26 in × 17.24 in)
LocationStädelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt

Aquis Submersus (Latin for Drowned in the Waters) is a painting by the German dadaist and surrealist Max Ernst created in 1919. Influenced by the Italian metaphysical art it is one of Ernst's earliest works showing surrealistical accents.[1] It currently resides at the Städel museum in Frankfurt, Germany.[1]

The painting depicts a swimming pool surrounded by buildings. The sense of dimension is unclear. The features of the buildings appear to be hand-drawn. The buildings leave shadows against the sky like a wall. Hanging in the sky is a clock that reflects on the water as a moon. In the pool, the picture shows a possibly female or childish body in an upside-down position with only the waist and legs above the water level. The person appears to be diving or is drowning. In the foreground is an armless stature-like figure that appears to have been made out of clay, throwing a shadow in the direction of the pool, similar to another shadow originating from outside the picture. The person looks away from the pool and bears a handlebar mustache resembling that of Ernst's father, but also has features which could be interpreted as female.

The painting carries the same name as a famous novella Aquis submersus [de] by Theodor Storm, published in 1876, which influenced Ernst creating his painting.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Aquis submersus". =Städelmuseum, Frankfurt. Retrieved 2013-05-09.