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Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIII, 1986: Caravaggio's Imagery of Death and Allusion. Charles N. Lewis. Pp. 261-272.. Psychoanal Q., 58:176.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLIII, 1986: Caravaggio's Imagery of Death and Allusion. Charles N. Lewis. Pp. 261-272.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:176

American Imago. XLIII, 1986: Caravaggio's Imagery of Death and Allusion. Charles N. Lewis. Pp. 261-272.

Anita G. Schmukler

The author suggests that oedipal conflict, with "prominent castration anxiety," is recurrent in the work of the seventeenth-century Italian painter, Caravaggio, whose father died when the artist was six and who was convicted of homicide at age thirty-five. The themes of oedipal conflict and castration anxiety appear to occur with increasing frequency following the homicide. Lewis supports his point of view by referring to various paintings in which Caravaggio's identification with victims can be seen, affirming his "need for self-punishment." It is curious that while the artist's work portrayed primarily religious themes, "his personal life became increasingly unlawful from 1600 onwards." Decapitations in Caravaggio's works showed a distinct change after the homicide. Prior to the murder, victims are presented in a struggle for life, and after 1606, the eyes of the victims are lifeless. Caravaggio's late work depicts alternation between his identification with victims and his participation as an innocent observer of violence.

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1989). American Imago. XLIII, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 58:176

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