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Psychoanalysis of the Visual Image

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Psychoanalysis and Perspective

Psychoanalysis and perspective can be used when analysing and deconstructing artworks. It can provide insight into the unconscious desires and defences of the artist. This is particularly the case when looking at expressionist and surrealist artworks, as these artists focus on representing and expressing their inner world, their unconscious thoughts, emotions and dreams. By looking at these artist’s lives and their artworks we can see connections between and gain insight into their psychological state and the psychology of the artworks.

Psychoanalysis is a branch of science developed by Sigmund Freud. It is devoted to the study of human psychological functioning and behaviour and it can be used as a method for investigating he mind; increasing knowledge about human behaviour and as a way of treating psychological or emotional illness.
Freud’s method of treating patients involved the person being analysed verbalising thoughts, associations, fantasies and dreams. The analyst interprets the unconscious conflicts that may be causing the patients symptoms or behavioural and character problems. This leads to an insight of the problem and how it might be resolved – often by confronting the patient’s defences, wishes and guilt. How a person reacts in certain situations is often symbolic of a deeper unconscious conflict and psychoanalysis delves right into the unconscious and subconscious.

Psychoanalysis first developed in Vienna in the 1890s by Freud. He became interested in the psychology of humans when he found patients had symptoms that didn’t seem to have a physical cause.
Freud had a number of theories, the first of which was his “seduction theory”. This was based on many of his patients who after being subjected to hypnotism and catharsis remembered incidents of being sexually seduced as children. Freud believed that they had…...

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