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Miller, J.D. Rose, G.J. (2005). Artist and model: Psychoanalytic perspectives. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(2):539-541.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(2):539-541

Artist and model: Psychoanalytic perspectives

Reported by:
J. David Miller

Moderator Gilbert J. Rose

In exploring the relationship between the artist and the model, the panelists broadened the meaning of ‘model’ to include much more than the professional poseur. For them the term encompasses the artist's real contemporary objects, his internalized objects, and even ‘the artist's internalized models drawn from the corpus of world art’ (Rose). As a result, their presentations, and the subsequent discussion, shed light on many aspects of creativity, including the creativity of everyday life and of the analytic process.

In his opening remarks, Rose led the audience from the traditional view of the detached model, paid to strike a pose, to first-person accounts by artists that reveal how intensely they engaged with their models. For Matisse, the erotic charge could be a kind of ‘trampoline’ into his most private inner world. Picasso eventually stopped using live models, shifting his focus to the ‘model’, drawn out of his internalized experiences, that was taking shape on his canvas. He has written of a ‘Gemini twin relationship linking the painter to painting’, a kind of merger into primal oneness with that ‘model’.

Beginning with Picasso's example, Rose offered a broad vision of how the artist who achieves such deep engagement with the model, or ultimately with the art work, and the viewer engaged with the art work both may achieve ‘an increased sense of subjective wholeness’: through aesthetic experience they gain access to perception at the primary-process level that is obscured in conventional perception.

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