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The Art of Insanity
Author: Hans Prinzhorn

ISBN: 9780983248002
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 30 September 2011
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.7 x 21.4 x 1.0

Hans Prinzhorn (1886–1933) was a German psychiatrist and art historian. While working at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg, Prinzhorn focused on adding to the hospital’s collection of artwork created by mentally ill patients. Making use of this collection, he published Bildnerei der Geisteskranken or Artistry of the Mentally Ill in 1922, a study of what he termed “schizophrenic art,” richly illustrated with examples of works from asylum inmates. After Max Ernst brought a copy to Paris, it became an essential influence for the Surrealists, who, inspired by Freud, had already begun to explore the unconscious through dreams and automatic writing, simulating madness in their lack of reason, logic, and structure. Prinzhorn’s theories, mainly concerned with the borderline between illness and self-expression, were a perfect fit for the Surrealist aesthetic. At the center of Prinzhorn’s book were case studies of ten psychotic artists whom he refers to as the schizophrenic masters, for their “complete autistic isolation” and “gruesome soli...

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