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Esman, A.H. (2004). Ernst Kris and the art of the mentally ill. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):923-933.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):923-933

Ernst Kris and the art of the mentally ill

AAron H. Esman

Ernst Kris, a gifted art historian as well as an eminent psychoanalyst, had little regard for the aesthetic value of the spontaneous artistic products of the mentally ill, considering them to be of interest only for the insight they might provide about the patient's psychopathology and unconscious conflicts. Recent scholarship and developments in the art world warrant a critical review of his position, which appears to have derived from his adherence to classical and Renaissance criteria. The works of two untrained and psychiatrically disturbed artists are offered as evidence of their potential aesthetic worth.

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