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Hart, M. (2007). Visualizing the Mind: Looking at Titian's ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’. Brit. J. Psychother., 23(2):267-280.

(2007). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 23(2):267-280

Visualizing the Mind: Looking at Titian's ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’

Melanie Hart

This painting prompted me to wonder whether it is possible to find the capacities and structures of the mind, as described by psychoanalysis, represented unconsciously in visual form. I explain why this exceptional painting seems to be one worth exploring for this purpose and, although there are myriad ways of approaching such a rich work of art, lay particular stress on its abstract, structural aspects. Doing this seems to reveal that Titian would have had no difficulty in understanding psychoanalytic formulations about mental structure had anyone been able to describe them to him verbally. Perhaps the human mind records its own activity, and understands itself, at a depth we have not understood.

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