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Barchilon, J. (1964). Development of Artistic Stylization—A Two-Year Evolution in the Drawings of a Normal Child. Psychoanal. St. Child, 19:256-274.

(1964). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 19:256-274

Development of Artistic Stylization—A Two-Year Evolution in the Drawings of a Normal Child

Jose Barchilon, M.D.

This is a comparative study of some drawings spontaneously made by a little girl over a period of two years, starting when she was four and a half years old. The drawings express a frankly sexualized reaction to a specific erotic threat and temptation, and illustrate at least two types of defenses used by this child against her conflicts. One is a wish to return to the womb and the other her invention of a form of vagina dentata as a protective mechanism. Her reaction to a threat of death, loss of love, and annihilation, awakened by President Kennedy's assassination, revived, in a different symbolic form, the "return to the womb" drawings and led to a pictorial and probably realistic solution of her mourning reaction by an aesthetic affirmation of the love and life forces in her. The drawings of this little girl reveal a transformation of the initial sexualized elements into personal, artistic symbols, which became less and less clearly sexual, until she developed a truly idiosyncratic artistic stylization of the human face. This was accompanied by a definite lessening of tension in the child and an increased effervescence and richness of color and forms in her paintings in general. These observations are discussed from several points of view, but because they highlight a specific artistic problem, stylization in painting, the final discussion is limited to this subject.



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