Peter Blume was one of the first American artist to embrace surrealism. He focused on Surrealism's questioning of life's purpose.
The Rock is a reference to the destruction caused by the atomic bombs that were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.
Much of the imagery in The Rock is alluding to decay and rebirth. This can be seen in the placing of the skeleton next to the flower and the smoke from the ruins flowing towards the new building.
The scared, yet enduring rock in the center of the painting is Blume's
symbol of humanity's tenacity and capacity to survive.