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Freud & The Arts | Learning Module

Series: 06-03-2017 - 13-03-2017
Hobrechtstraße 66 Berlin, 12047


Exploring the psychology of art and artist through the eyes of Sigmund Freud
The birth of psychoanalysis and the practice of arts have long influenced each other. Right at the center: Sigmund Freud, an avid admirer of the artistic entity but also mentor to a number of artists. This learning module will examine sculptures, poems, and symphonies that were fundamental for the birth of Freud’s psychoanalysis. The full learning module is an in-depth exploration including four lectures, an ongoing reading group and access to a research seat in Stillpoint's Library. 

Lecture Series
Each Monday, facilitator Aleksandar Dimitrijevic introduces a key aspect of the topic, that will be further studied and discussed throughout the week. Find the full lecture program below.

Research seat at The LAB
During the week, participants can access The Lab for individual research related to the learning module. The reading material for each week will be provided, such as a curated library section dedicated to the topic. The library is open Mondays to Fridays, 10.00 - 18.00, with coffee and tea included. 

More information:

The Lectures
20.02.2017 - Lecture 1: The role of arts in Freud’s psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud’s work is deeply infused by his fascination for the artistic take on humanity. Not only can his style of writing be picturesque at times; metaphors and references of the arts emerge throughout all of his writings. Freud even experimented with interpreting pieces of art, creating a genre called "psychobiographies". The duality of science and aesthetics in his work frames the focus of this first lecture.

27.02.2017 - Lecture 2: Freud's favorites: antiquities, Michelangelo, and Shakespeare
Freud's life-long passion for collecting antique sculptures led to a magnificent 2000+ pieces collection. In Rome, he returned to a particular sculpture every day for a month. And throughout all his works he quoted Shakespeare. Why were precisely these masters so close to his heart?

06.03.2017 - Lecture 3: Freud and Mahler
When Freud was beginning to build a reputation in Vienna, one person was at the center of the capital’s cultural life – Gustav Mahler. The composer though avoided to even utter the name of the theorist of sexuality. Yet, when Mahler got shattered by his wife’s infidelity, he eventually consulted Freud. We will reconstruct their talk on the meaning of music and listen to Mahler's works composed that summer.

13.03.2017 - Lecture 4: Freud and Rilke
After finishing his only novel – a work that will prelude a new epoch – Rainer Maria Rilke is exhausted and depleted. Psychoanalysis, he realizes, will “correct him like teachers‘ red ink”. He meets Freud at a congress in a buzzling hotel lobby – an encounter that leads to one of Freud’s most famous short papers. We will trace their life-long correspondence by reading Rilke's poems and letters of that period.

Questions we will explore

  • How did the arts affect the development of psychoanalysis? And in return – how did psychoanalysis shape 20th-century aesthetics?
  • How did Freud approach the interpretation of masterpieces and what are the rules of the so-called "psychobiographies"?
  • What can we learn from Sigmund Freud's treatment of creative leaders?

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