Blog # 5 – Early Modern

 

Surrealism is a type of art that delves into the psychological
states of the world of dreams and fantasies. The word ‘surreal’ meaning ‘above
reality’. The artists who depicted this movement were all influenced by the
science of that era. The psychological research and analyses of the
significance of dreams and the subconscious by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung
inspired these artists to portray these ideas. They believed there was an
element of truth revealed in our subconscious minds.

In Salvador Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937) painted
in his hometown of Spain portrays the timeless mythological story of Narcissus
as a beautiful young man who admires his own reflection in a body of water. As
he falls in love with his own beauty, he turns to stone. Dali, considered to be
the Master of illusion, creates a double-image, where the boy’s form is
repeated as an enlarged hand holding an egg which bursts forth with a narcissus
flower.

Dali reveals the human drama of love, death and the transformation
known in psychoanalysis as “narcissism”. In his Introduction to Psychoanalysis,
Sigmund Freud defines the term as “the displacement of an individual’s libido
towards that individual’s own body, towards the ‘ego’ of the subject.” Freud
later remarked about the painting: “Until today I had tended to think that the
surrealists, who would appear to have chosen me as their patron saint, were
completely mad. But this wild-eyed young Spaniard, with his undoubted technical
mastery, prompted me to a different opinion. Indeed, it would be most
interesting to explore analytically the growth of a work like this …”In this
painting Dalí successfully linked the classical tradition of Greek mythology
with the latest investigations of psychoanalysis, through the myth of
Narcissus.

I find this work appealing because it is such an interesting
portrayal of how he viewed this classical myth in a subconscious way. I also
find his freedom of expression very different and interesting. I think it
leaves a lot of room for interpretation and analysis and I find this very
appealing.

 

Citations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_(mythology)

http://robinurton.com/history/surrealism.htm

http://www.salvador-dali.org/serveis/ced/articles/en_article8.html

 

 

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One Response to Blog # 5 – Early Modern

  1. Caroline,

    I thought you did a wonderful job with your blog post. You did an excellent job with connecting it to the science of the time. It took a lot of creativity and insight to be able to connect this work to Sigmund Freud’s research on dreams. I also like how you connected it to mythology and you presented a story to me that I had not heard before. It also appears that your information is factual as well as citing your sources.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Christian

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