Art Mourning and Psychoanalysis

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Art has a unique ability to portray a vision of emotion that cannot otherwise be so clearly expressed.&nbsp. This is shown in every detail of the artwork, including the brush strokes against the canvas, the inclusion of specific elements, the juxtaposition of these elements, the symbolism associated with these elements and the lighting of the subject.&nbsp. An example of this can be found in John Everett Millais’ “Ophelia” in which the image is so full of beautiful detail and bright colors that it might seem at first difficult to realize it is a painting of sadness.&nbsp. However, as will be shown, the painting nevertheless evokes a feeling of deep melancholia and leaves viewers with perhaps a deeper sense of mourning than that expounded in Shakespeare’s play from which the image was taken. Many of these emotion-laden techniques are equally applicable to painting and to art photography, which has been shown to have a similar ability to convey emotion through works such as Tom Hunter’s “The Way Home.” The common denominator in both of these images, other than that they are based upon the same story and have much the same elements, is in the creative focus of the artist as he or she attempts to convey a specific feeling to his or her audience in association with the image presented. In many cases, science has assisted us in interpreting these messages as the works of such notables as Sigmund Freud have illuminated the inner workings of the human mind. While these more scientific works have provided us with the language through which these interpretations become clear, they have not been necessary for the proper expression of emotions such as deep melancholy or mourning. This is evident in paintings produced prior to Freud’s theories being published as well as after, as a comparison of the two above-mentioned works will also demonstrate.