06 April 2017, The Tablet

Spirit of surrealism: Despite rejecting childhood faith, visionary painter Leonora Carrington's works are suffused with Catholic imagery

Art, family and mysticism


It was a nun at Leonora Carrington’s convent boarding school who first identified what was undoubtedly the pivotal characteristic in her unruly pupil. “This girl,” she wrote in her end-of-year report, “will collaborate in neither work nor play.”

By the time I came to know her, Leonora was in her late eighties and had spent her entire life collaborating in neither work nor play. She was by then the most famous artist in Mexico, feted as the last survivor of the surrealist movement, an extraordinary visionary with a lasting reach that spread far beyond the central America of the early twenty-first century, by which she was at that stage physically contained.

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