Psychoanalysis and Leonardo Da Vinci

"All art is characterized by a certain

mode of organization around a void "

J. Lacan


leonardo da vinci psicomenta a la menthe blog nemesis

In this article we will work with the text of Sigmund Freud "A childhood memory of Leonardo Da Vinci" (1910) which proposes the study of the unconscious through art, but not only the unconscious that collects repressed material but also a psychic center deep where creativity operates.

In the essay Freud carries out the psychoanalytic approach to this important historical figure through his biography, scrutinizing and venturing into the affective / loving life of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), a prominent representative of the Renaissance, presenting a vision as an artist, as a researcher -Scientist, as a man and his history. However, we will limit ourselves to a small sketch and approach to the artistic plane of the one who “(…) exerted the most decisive influence on his time as a painter”.


psicomenta da vinci a la menta blog

 Da Vinci himself describes in his Trattato della Pittura, the difference between the harmoniousness of the painter's work compared to that of the sculptor, since the latter alone “sits with great comfort in front of his work, well dressed, and moves the very light brush with the pleasant colors. He is adorned with the clothes he likes. And his house, full of delightful paintings, (…) ”. Freud exposes that Da Vinci's artistic activity is affected when he must leave Milan after the overthrow of Ludovico el Moro, from there artistically as a painter, his fruitful production diminishes, leaving many of his pictorial works unfinished.

 We wonder, why such unexpected detachment or perhaps indifference to what was once the core of his life. And many times it is not the same for all of us who in some way express ourselves through a drawing, a painting, a composition of colors, what underlies? What is hidden, in a particular painting, what are we trying to capture? Perhaps as psychoanalysis suggests ... what we do not want to say.

Da Vinci student of light, colors, perspective, in search of perfection, perfection of nature and the perfection of human nature? He shows great strength, energy towards love and knowing the unknown. "By the work of a provid nature, the artist was given to express through creations his emotional motions, hidden from himself, (...)"

Freud argues in the essay that Leonardo Da Vinci himself did not consider many of his unfinished paintings, only that they did not embody his purposes, they were not totally imbued with his spirit. He emphasizes some traits of the artist's personality such as his slowness and meticulousness in working, his estrangement from painting. "(...) We are forced to discard the fact that some traits of lightness and inconstancy could have had the best influence on the teacher's attitude towards his art."

In the biographical and psychoanalytic essay Sigmund Freud focuses on what Da Vinci transmits through the painting of the female image, specifically in the portrait of the Monna Lisa del Giocondo, (which took 4 years to make and declare it unfinished) and her enigmatic smile, which has generated so many interpretations ... the feminine game of reserve and seduction.


the mona lisa smile a la menthe blog psycho nemesis

We dare to ask ourselves, what was Da Vinci trying to capture, transmit while he produced the portrait? With whom did you associate this enigmatic and mysterious woman? Whose semblance is reproduced in later works. It could be said that the veil of the Monna Lisa enveloped Leonardo.

“Leonardo's painting closest in time to the Monna Lisa is called Santa Ana, la Virgen y el Niño. Both women show the Leonardesca smile in a beautiful expression ”.

Freud interprets that the painting represents the maternal figures who were next to Leonardo, his biological mother and his stepmother. However, he represents them in the figure of two young women, fused at the same time with another female figure that accompanied him in childhood, his paternal grandmother. Finding in the model the smile that makes him evoke the mother, he does not renounce her, it is not surprising the reproduction of her in other works, offering us an enveloping painting of love, mystery, compassion, tenderness, doubts ...

"Although it is true that psychoanalysis does not clarify Leonardo's condition as an artist, it makes his exteriorizations and limitations understandable to us."


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