Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the by Hans Prinzhorn

By Hans Prinzhorn

Greater than 70 years after its first e-book in German, Artistry of the Mentally sick via Hans Prinzhorn continues to be a vintage in regards to the borderland among psychiatry and artwork, affliction and self-expression. The drawings, work and sculptures accumulated and analyzed through Prinzhorn are the goods of artistically untrained and unpracticed individuals – inmates of asylums. This booklet represents one of many first makes an attempt to investigate the creative paintings of the mentally sick. thoroughly spontaneous they're in sharp distinction to more moderen collections that are the goods of occupational remedy or psychotherapy. prior to Prinzhorn, works by means of the mentally in poor health have been thought of curiosities, by no means the topic of medical or creative research. in spite of the fact that, to Prinzhorn they have been "the eruptions of an common human artistic urge” counteracting the autistic developments towards isolation. Prinzhorn demonstrates remarkable parallels among his assortment and people by means of young ones, and among old Greek cultures and primitive ones.

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Additional resources for Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration

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Expressive U rge Decorative Urge / m e n t of Surroundings) Playful Urge (Drive for Action)~ Urge to Compose ( e. g. Wish to Draw) U nobjective Disordered Scribbling + Ordering Tendency + Tendency to Imitate ( Copying U rge) + Symbolic Needs Imitative Copying ~~ . G enre - Histor . y, I) ' IustratiOn I + · Abstract~ Symbolic . and . . Configurauon. Sigmficance, . I M eamng . s·1gn, " R atwna ~~ Need to Communicate ~ Writing 14 ~ I Orname~-~-=~oration Schema of the Tendencies of Configuration Sacred Art Closely allied to the central need for expression and similar to it in that they too are only remotely determined by objects are only two such compulsions, drives, or needs (the choice of words does not matter here), namely the urges to play and to adorn oneself.

Without following up the biological bases of the imitative drive, which would take us too far from the main theme, we should mention just a few facts to serve as a foil for the psychological discussions. Nobody can doubt, of course, that the pleasure of successful imitation was more important for whole millennia and societies than the need, say, to realize symbols objectively. In support we usually cite Dutch painting, which without constraint depicted the joys of the real world. Guided only by the tradition of art schools, it never tired of making the world appear as faithful to nature as possible.

The need for expression, the play instinct, and the adornment instinct coalesce in the creative drive which manifests itself clearly, without any relation to formal tendencies, in unobjective and unordered scribbles (see p. 40). As weshall show, it is quite rewarding on theoretical grounds to analyze these seldom scrutinized and inherently worthless products. If the tendency toward order, to which we also assign compulsive significance, gains predominance over the formal elements of such scrawls, it means that the essential components of ornamentation and decoration are present, whereas the imitative urge, too much abused in theory, Ieads to representational copies.

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