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Ingram, D. (2019). Beyond Eden: The other Lives of Fine Arts Models—and the Meaning of Medical Disrobing, by David V. Forrest, M.D., Outskirts Press, Inc., 2017, 219 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 47(2):215-217.
(2019). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 47(2):215-217
Beyond Eden: The other Lives of Fine Arts Models—and the Meaning of Medical Disrobing, by David V. Forrest, M.D., Outskirts Press, Inc., 2017, 219 pp.
Review by: Douglas Ingram, M.D.
Aside from their adoration of the female nude, David V. Forrest and Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose image adorns the cover of this remarkable book, have little in common. Cranach's image portrays Adam literally scratching his head as Eve hands him The Apple. This image is one of several in Cranach's oeuvre concerned with the malevolent power of women. By contrast, Forrest adores and respects women. He speaks from within their humanity and offers engaging drawings of them in their nude poses that, likewise, appreciate that same humanity.
Following in the orientation of Abram Kardiner, Forrest regards himself as an anthropological psychoanalyst. His published work reflects this approach and appears, here, in his exploration of the lives of the nude models whom he draws. For over 40 years he has been drawing them, most recently at the Society of Illustrators. Who are these women (and the occasional man), he wonders, who “practice this ancient and mysterious art of posing?” Where are they from? Why do they do it? The conventional artist never asks these questions of the model posing on the podium—and must not ask. Forrest is not the conventional artist.
The boundary, we realize, between artist and model is not so very different from the boundary between analyst and patient. Conventionally, the artist must ask nothing of the model except that s/he fulfills the responsibility of that role, to hold a pose, much as the patient in classical analysis must ask nothing of the analyst except that s/he fulfills the responsibility of that role.
[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]