Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To share an article on social media…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you find an article or content on PEP-Web interesting, you can share it with others using the Social Media Button at the bottom of every page.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Markle, D.J., Jr. (1970). Note: Freud, Leonardo and the Lamb. Psychoanal. Rev., 57(2):285-288.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Review, 57(2):285-288

Note: Freud, Leonardo and the Lamb

Durward J. Markle, Jr.

Jr, In his study of Leonardo da Vinci, Sigmund Freud states that the famous Mona Lisa smile is explainable in the light of Leonardo's mother-child relationship.1 Freud attributes the smile to a combination of the child living on in the adult, and to the artist's taking the child's memory forward to a creation on canvas. Further, he attributes the retained childhood feelings toward the mouth as also evident in other paintings. He cites “The Holy Family” as an example. Freud asserts the Gioconda-like smile is repeated on the faces of St. Anne and Mary, who are looking down on the Christ-child playing with a lamb in a happy, quiet scene.

A question is raised with the view that this is a happy, quiet scene that has been represented; and does the “smile” reflect dear, fond, and satisfying memories.

The Gioconda smile is neither beckoning nor distant, warm and inviting, nor cold and deprecating. The smile is not the statement of Leonardo the man, rather it is the confused reminscence of the child living on in the artist-man.

The smiles Leonardo painted are neither kind nor harsh, but they are mysterious. They are mysterious because the child could not be sure of them. Because the child could not find their meaning, they remained confusing to the man. They were unfathomable because he could never be sure whether the smiles represented affection-satisfaction or desertion-rejection.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.