Monday , March 20 2023

In Paris, where Freud, Art and Religion meet


Sigmund Freud was born in a Jewish family but, from an early age, he became not only an atheist, but also one who wanted to keep his Jewish ancestors separate from psychoanalytic science. If he were a scientist, he thought, he could not be trafficked into religion. And yet, at the age of 81, two years before his death, he published "Moses and Monotheism," in which he essentially attempted to psychoanalyze the death of Moses, calling him the "family tribes" of Judaism . Freud reported the death of Moses in the Old Testament, who initially claimed that at the top of a mountain and through Israel's "promised land," Moses simply died at the age of 120. Freud, however, said that Moses' descendants killed him in a frustrated rebellion, and this guilt, inherited by the Jews for thousands of years, continues to transform them into religion to gain spiritual consolation and make some sort of historical penitentiary.

"If Freud always kept out of religion at the end of his life, he publishes" Moses and the monotheism "in which he returns to his Jewish origins," says Philippe Comar, a French multimedia artist and "scientific advisor" Freud Exhibition at the Museum of Art and Jewish History in Paris.

But it is not fair that Freud has always kept from religion. He had mixed Judaism in his psychoanalysis before. In a previous book, "Her Civilization and Grievances," Freud said that religion created the most important conflict within man because he preached against violence, went against the natural human impulse to try power and sex by any means. And in a special Freudian note in "The Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-Year-Old Boy," a medical case study, Freud suggested that because of castration anxiety, the Jewish tradition of circumcision was "the deepest unconscious root of anti -Semitism ". All this adds to a man who, trying to avoid the spiritual aspects of the religion in which he was raised, seemed to apply his tenants and historical implications to a relative frequency.

Until February 10, 2019, "Sigmund Freud: From the Perspective of Obedience" is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Museum of Jewish Art and History, as well as an attempt to gain insight into Freud's Jewish perspective . There are over two hundred drawings, books and scientific instruments from Freud, but also from Gustave Courbet, Gustav Klimt, Rene Magritte and Mark Rothko. Cleaned by Gerard Regnier, art historian and member of the francaise academy under the pseudonym "Jean Clair", the show also includes loans such as drawings by Egon Schiele and Klimt at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, as well as the world famous "de Courbet from the Orsay Museum across Sena.

Not surprising for an exhibition in Paris, the show opens in a Parisian setting at the Salpetriere Hospital where a 29-year-old Freud worked with Jean-Martin Charcot, a doctor and a professor, whose talk about " hysteria "of psychoanalysis. Freud only worked for Charcot for four months – he was a brief fellowship – but the exhibition focuses on Charcot's research on hypnosis and hysteria in an attempt to emphasize Freud's cultural Frenchness – apparent scientific curiosity more of a French rather than an Austrian feature. However, it is true that Freud found a particularly desirable audience in Parisian lounges, where the Western literary community generally embraced his growing psychoanalytic theories, more than the scientific community of time.

But this exhibition, more than Freud's French bona fide proof, is interested in his Jewry. His father's family were Hasidic Jews and, as he acknowledged in the Autobiographical Study, his own latent Jewish identity inspired in him both a non-conformism as a scientist and a certain form of morality where sexual desire would always be included of a form of law or belief system. This, perhaps more than anything else, helps to explain most of its psycho-psychological theories, which "From Look to Listen" can not emphasize.

Indeed, a profound psychoanalysis of the sinking of Freud's relationship with his Jewishness is not quite tried here, but the surface is scratched. And it looks like it's going deep. Even Freud himself seemed surprised at the extent to which his Jew continued to affect him. In a 1931 letter to his friend, David Feuchtwang, a doctor, he admitted his religious identity, influencing it more and more as he ages. "In a place in my soul, in a very hidden corner, I am a fanatical Jew," wrote 75-year-old Freud. "I am very amazed to discover myself, despite all the efforts to be unpredictable and impartial. What can I do against my age?

"Sigmund Freud: From the Perspective of Obedience" is visible at the Jewish Museum of Art and History, Paris, by February 10, 2019. More information:

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