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Rosenthal, M.J. (1951). Relationships Between Form and Feeling in the Art of Picasso. Am. Imago, 8(4):371-391.

(1951). American Imago, 8(4):371-391

Relationships Between Form and Feeling in the Art of Picasso

Maurice J. Rosenthal, M.D.

I. Thesis and Preliminary Evidence

PICASSO'S art has certainly underlined what we should have known previously: art is not a simple reproduction of sensation. It is an expressive activity in which the total personality participates. We shall advance the hypothesis that many aspects of Picasso's art can be understood as attempts to overcome his feeling of solitude. In particular, we shall assert that many of his principal stylistic innovations indicate an attempt to master the inherent anxiety of isolation by graphically modifying ego boundaries. This action would have as its deepest (although not necessarily its most important) goal the restoration of a state of primary narcissism.

In so doing we are implying that personal problems of an artist may find representation on his canvas. We imply that this particular problem of Picasso's, since it became incorporated into his work, must have contributed to the motivation which made him paint. But while we will find a great deal in the paintings which can be atrributed to the influence of this problem, and while we may speculate that it had great personal importance, we still do not know its weight as a factor among the many which caused him to become a painter. Al we are justified in asserting, it seems to us, is that the painting could and did serve as a vehicle for the expression of certain problems (needs) of the artist.

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