Friday, May 29, 2009


Psychoanalysis of Leonardo da Vinci by Sigmund Freud

Are the ways of Science different from the ways of Art?

If there is a person who is both an artist and a scientist, will life be a constant turmoil because these two forces (art and science) oppose each other?

I get the feeling that Sigmund Freud in his psychoanalysis of Leonardo da Vinci seems to implicitly assume the above. Here is a link to this fascinating short book.

art, science, pyschosexual study?

i see why u identify with this book :)
Why do science and art oppose each other?
I would guess, a good artist (and the other way) can be equally good scientist if (s)he tries to be. Sure, the objects on which they are interested in are different - i.e people/feelings versus machines/data (although they could parallely reflect each other for eg, analyzing feelings is nothing but statistical prediction imo), but basic qualities for artists/scientists is probably same - like lots of practice,trying many things etc. Im only saying its possible, in reality its highly unlikely for somebody to have similar amount of interest in many things, but I would be surprised if a good artist is scientifically bad or otherwise.
Yes intuitively I also agree with you.

However, in the book Freud argues that the impulse of scientific enquiry made da Vinci less productive in his art work.
Art has nothing to do with analyzing feelings, rather it is an expression, presumably spontaneous, of them. I believe that art, in this spontaneity, transcends the non-dynamic deductions of science.

perhaps, I should also add that scientifically-minded people are adept at capturing the nuances of music, but fail to understand the subtleties of paintings or sculptures. i imagine this is because music has a pattern whereas the others do not. Hmm...

@ Varun1: Yes, Freud in his argument differentiates art and science using something similar to 'spontaneity'.

Actually he (Freud) extrapolates from one of da vinci's quotes. Da Vinci in one of his quotes about 'love' says something like "How can a person love an object without fully understanding it?"

Freud argues that when you try to understand an entity entirely, and you are successful, the question of loving or hating the object does not arise afterwards.

He (Frued) then compares 'loving' to 'art' and hypothesizes that the scientific curiosity in da Vinci led him to analyze and understand the things he was trying to artistically create, which actually decreased his artistic productivity.

@ Varun2: It is an interesting point you raise. However, I do not believe these 'patterns' are restricted to music -- I think these patterns can be found (when you look for them) in any kind of art. It is a different matter altogether if the artist identifies these patterns ( consciously or sub-consciously) and applies a 'formula' to create his art.
@Varun2: Da Vinci was mainly a painter and an engineer.
i did not intend to state that there are no "patterns" in paintings; just that it is, perhaps,not as obvious as in music.

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