Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Palaeolithic artist: part 18

Single brushstrokes painted alla prima
adds volume to otherwise flat surfaces; the
prostitute stands out from the jagged,
fractured lines of the Altamira limestone
cave. Perhaps even the double perspective
of her face is Picasso's homage to the cave
artist's use of swellings in the rock to create

"[210]...As the day is woman to him, so is the night; psychologically speaking, they are the light and the dark soul (anima). The dark one sits waiting, expecting him in the blue twilight, and stirring up morbid presentiments. With the change of colour, we enter the underworld. The world of objects is death-struck, as the horrifying masterpiece of the syphilitic, tubercular, adolescent prostitute makes plain. The motif of the prostitute begins with the entry into the beyond, where he, as a departed soul, encounters a number of others of his kind. When I say “he,” I mean that personality in Picasso which suffers the underworld fate— the man in him who does not turn towards the day-world, but is fatefully drawn into the dark; who follows not the accepted ideals of goodness and beauty, but the demoniacal attraction of ugliness and evil. It is these antichristian and Luciferian forces that well up in modern man and engender an all-pervading sense of doom, veiling the bright world of day with the mists of Hades, infecting it with deadly decay, and finally, like an earthquake, dissolving it into fragments, fractures, discarded remnants, debris, shreds, and disorganized units. Picasso and his exhibition are a sign of the times, just as much as the twenty-eight thousand people who came to look at his pictures."

C.G. Jung,  Picasso, First published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, CLIII : 2 (Nov. 13, 1932); reprinted in Wirklichkeit der Seele (Zurich, 1934). Previously translated by Alda F. Oertly for the Papers of the Analytical Psychology Club of New York City (1940); another translation, by Ivo Jarosy, appeared in Nimbus (London), II : 2 (autumn, 1953). Both versions have been consulted in the present translation.Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 15: Spirit in Man, Art, And Literature: 015 (pp. 138-139). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
A shell of a man

Friedrich Nietzsche about ten years after his mental

collapse and about a year before his death. While some
could understand the psychic causes of his demise,
others could not accept anything but the physical and
suggested syphilis; manic-depressive illness with
periodic psychosis followed by vascular dementia;
the slow growth of a right-sided retro-orbital
meningioma; frontotemporal dementia; a hereditary
stroke disorder called CADASIL.; Poisoning by
mercury, a treatment for syphilis at the time of
Nietzsche's death?

"It depicts five naked women with figures composed of flat, splintered planes and faces inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The compressed space the figures inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards; a fiercely pointed slice of melon in the still life of fruit at the bottom of the composition teeters on an impossibly upturned tabletop. These strategies would be significant in Picasso’s subsequent development of Cubism, charted in this gallery with a selection of the increasingly fragmented compositions he created in this period." Anonymous, Museum of Modern Art

The iconic portrait of Vincent Van Gogh with
his ear bandaged after he cut off the lobe and 
presented it to a prostitute, shortly before he
shot himself.

Van Gogh and Nietzsche had a complete mental
breakdown in 1889, but Picasso was only seven
at the time.

The cause of Vincent Van Gogh's death. Complications following an attempted suicide brought about by psychic problems? or Syphilis; epilepsy; bipolar disorder; borderline personality disorder; sunstroke; Ménière's disease; lead poisoning; acute intermittent porphyria; digoxin toxicity from foxglove plants used to treat his epilepsy?

Three different views of the same painting. and multiple opinions of what led to two mental breakdowns in the very same year. What was happening here? Syphilis was the meme of that time. Nietzsche's Existential Nihilism  had become societal fragmentation by the time Jung died. That was the time of the "Angry young men" and the beatniks, which I saw, but never understood. The sixties, for me, were very different. And what of the references to prostitutes? More memes. Picasso never had need of such in that time. He always attracted the young women in those days.

The cause of Picasso' s death is never even mentioned by anyone. It happened when he was ninety,
while he and his wife, Jacqueline, were entertaining friends at dinner. He had met her when he was 72 and she was 26.

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