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Szajnberg, N.M. (2013). Caravaggio Four Centuries Later: Psychoanalytic Portraits of Ambivalence and Ambiguity. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 61(2):311-331.

(2013). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 61(2):311-331

Caravaggio Four Centuries Later: Psychoanalytic Portraits of Ambivalence and Ambiguity

Nathan M. Szajnberg

Rome celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of Michelangelo Marisi da Caravaggio's death with an historical exhibition of his brief lifetime's work. Yet psychoanalysis has not studied this work extensively, despite the artist's compelling portrayal of a full range of human affects, including ambivalence. Psychoanalysis has studied artistic pioneers such as da Vinci (Freud 1910) and Michelangelo (Freud 1914), Giotto's use of blue sky as psychologically innovative (Blatt 1994), and Magritte's play with external reality (Spitz 1994). What can we learn about Caravaggio's work—including innovative contributions such as visual representation of expressed emotions, particularly negative emotions, including ambivalence, and remarkably candid, even critical, self-representations—and how can this late-sixteenth-century artist teach us about the development of the concept of mind underlying psychoanalysis?

[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.]

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