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October 2021

The primal scene and Picasso's Guernica

Journal/Book: Int J Psychoanal. 2000; 81: 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1M 7Rd, England. Inst Psycho-Analysis. 121-139.

Abstract: The author examines a group of works by Picasso dating from the late 1930s in terms of the artist's experiences as documented by his biographers and of primal-scene fantasies as described in the field of psychoanalysis by, in particular Freud and Klein. Pointing out that the artist himself is on record as inviting such a consideration, he contends that these fantasies constitute the latent motivating force behind one of Picasso's most famous paintings, the mural Guernica, and a number of other productions from the same period Biographical accounts are drawn upon to show how aspects of his inner world are revealed in the specific works described and reproduced in this paper. The role of women is shown to have been particularly relevant. The author demonstrates how Picasso's constant pattern of triangular relationships culminated in his personal crisis of 1935, which, together with the Spanish Civil War, reflecting as it did the conflicts of his internal and external relations, contributed to the production of the works in this group. The artist is seen as attempting to work through and make reparation for envious attacks on the parental objects, but it is pointed out that art works should not be assessed by the criterion of therapeutic change.

Note: Article Hartke R, Rua Dona Laura 745, Apto 301, BR-90430091 Porto Alegre, RS, BRAZIL

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