On Psychoanalytic Technique as foundation for the investigation of Creativity

Can psychoanalytic technique be used to investigate creativity? With reference to MacMillan’s work (MacMillan et al., 2003) on Freud’s essay on the Moses of Michelangelo (Freud, 1914b), the author begins this article by arguing that this is not always productive. In Freud’s analysis of Michelangelo’s sculpture and of the artist’s intentions, Freud made use of introspection in a way that is analogous to the free floating attention of psychoanalysts. However, Freud’s construction can be discredited when one takes into account: 1. Michelangelo’s original plan for the tomb of Julius II; 2. two iconographical conventions used by the artist; and 3. the biblical text. The author goes on to argue that psychoanalytic technique can provide an adequate frame of reference for research on creation and creativity. Besides the speech of the artist, he discovers in the aim of repetition a handle on the interpretation of art. This point of view is illustrated with the work of Johan Clarysse, Edgar Allan Poe and Paul Auster.

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