Freud and the Fresco

Event Recap of Freud’s Trip to Orvieto, 1/30/18

Art has always inspired intense thought and self reflection, and this was especially true for the Father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, as Nicholas Fox Weber (Director, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation), Kent Minturn (NYU), and Pepe Karmel (NYU) discussed on January 30, 2018. Fox Weber’s most recent book, Freud’s Trip to Orvieto: The Great Doctor’s Unresolved Confrontation with Antisemitism, Death, and Homoeroticism; his Passion for Paintings; and the Writer in His Footsteps (Bellevue Literary Press, 2017), explores the art that influenced Freud during his trip to Orvieto, Italy in 1897.

When reflecting on his trip, Freud realized that he could not remember the painter of the frescoes, Luca Signorelli, in the San Brizio Chapel in Orvieto, which he psychoanalyzed as a repression. Fox Weber discusses this in his book, arguing that it is through art that we have greater access to the depths of feeling in Freud and come to understand him through his fascination with these frescoes. Minturn then discussed Freud’s fascination with art from his early essays on art history.

Concluding with a discussion with the audience, the conversation brought to light the lesser-known connections between Freud and art, and the role of forgetfulness and repressed thoughts in psychoanalysis.

Hear the full event: