Image and insight essays in psychoanalysis and the arts


Book Details

Both studies engendered controversy, with art historians and psychoanalysts offering heated critiques pro and con. Following these two publications, the field of art and psychoanalysis expanded into various approaches, depending on the particular psychoanalytic or art-historical bias of the author. These three methods of analyzing art and artists form the major sections of this article. Both psychobiography and psycho-iconography are of most value when they clarify the art, especially with regard to its meaning or technique.

The origin and nature of creativity and symbolization are more relevant to the creative process and can be approached either from the point of view of a specific artist or via the conventions prevalent at a specific time and place. Brief bibliographical entries are also provided for tangential issues, as well as for general discussions of the methodology of psychoanalysis applied to art. There are general overviews of the application of psychoanalytic thinking to works of art, as well as publications that expand the boundaries of psychoanalysis.

These overviews include more recent approaches to art, and compilations of essays or talks given at conferences that deal with different ways of reading art according to the school of psychoanalysis favored by the author.

Holdings: Image and insight :

Additional approaches to the application of psychoanalysis to art include feminist studies, semiotics and structuralism, gender studies, colonialism and non-Western art, and neurobiology. The issue of aesthetics is covered only when included in works primarily concerned with psychobiography, psycho-iconography, or creativity and symbolization. The application of psychoanalysis to aesthetics has become a major field in its own right and deserves a separate set of bibliographical entries. Later books cover slightly different approaches to art and psychoanalysis.

Some deal with the reception of works Spitz , others with specific psychoanalytic topics such as dreams, the Oedipus complex, etc. Adams , interdisciplinary approaches to culture Davis , the polymorphous perverse character of creativity Howard , and modern psychoanalytic approaches applied to modern and contemporary art Walsh These tend to deal with different schools of psychoanalysis applied to the arts, with art historians generally focusing on particular works of art and individual artists, and psychoanalysts on the creative process: although in some cases the two overlap and reinforce each other.

Adams, Laurie Schneider. Art and Psychoanalysis.

Other Subject Areas

New York: Icon Editions, An overview of psychoanalytic readings of works of art. Topics such as dreams and delusions in art, expressions of the Oedipus complex in art, psychobiography and autobiography, conventional themes, the primal scene, and the transitional object and its implications for symbolization and creativity, are surveyed, along with explanations of theory and clinical vignettes. Davis, Whitney. Replications: Archaeology, Art History, Psychoanalysis. Argues that art history, like archaeology and psychoanalysis, deals with the cultural meaning of objects and imagery.

Thus, art history shares certain elements with those fields, as well as being able to form a bridge between them.

Howard, Seymour. DOI: Examples of the polymorphous perverse character of creativity and the metamorphosis of imagery reflecting unconscious processes. Kris, Ernst. Psychoanalytic Explorations in Art. Madison, CT: International Universities, Kris considers several major artists as well as examples of the art of the insane.


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Spitz, Ellen Handler. Her creative union of literature and infantile states, rivalry, sexual phantasy, and death, enlivens both disciplines, bringing a fresh perspective to both. The Art of Personality will sharpen attention and insight as well as enrich and delight the reader.

ISBN 13: 9780231072977

Meg Harris Williams , a writer and artist, studied English at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford and art at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, and has had a lifelong psychoanalytic education, working closely with Donald Meltzer. She has written and lectured extensively in the UK and abroad on psychoanalysis and literature.


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  5. She is married with four children and lives in Farnham, Surrey. Our customers have not yet reviewed this title. Be the first add your own review for this title.

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