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(1992). Meetings of the Psychoanalytic Institute and Society of New England, East. Psychoanal Q., 61:688-689.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:688-689

Meetings of the Psychoanalytic Institute and Society of New England, East

February 11, 1991. FREUD'S AESTHETIC RESPONSE TO MICHELANGELO'S MOSES. Gary N. Goldsmith, M.D. (Faculty Forum.)

Dr. Ana-Maria Rizzuto introduced the topic of the forum by describing the background of Dr. Goldsmith's investigation into Freud's essay on Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses. In the autumn of 1990 some members of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East, formed a group to study Freud, Vienna, and the beginnings of psychoanalysis. This evolved into a study of the notion of secrets in Freud's writings and in his personal life, particularly preoedipal secrets.

Dr. Goldsmith noted that previous commentaries on Freud's essay on Michelangelo's Moses have stressed the personal significance to Freud of Jung's and Adler's defection from the psychoanalytic movement, and the paternal conflict rekindled by seeing Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses the Lawgiver. In Freud's view, Moses' wrath at the defection of the false idolators was successfully restrained in Michelangelo's sculpted image. Jung's apostasy was, for Freud, the defection of a younger successor, and, like Michelangelo's Moses, Freud was restrained in his actions. Other factors that have been considered are that Freud's younger brother Julius had died when Freud was just nineteen months old and that the Moses sculpture was for the tomb of another Julius, Pope Julius II.

Dr. Goldsmith sought to expand the perspective for interpretation of Freud's essay beyond the phallic and competitive themes by demonstrating the role of preoedipal loss and conflict.

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