Flying and Painting
Flying and Painting
Leonardo’s Rival Sublimations
Chapter Seven continues the argument from Chapter Six about maternal seduction and its derivatives. It considers Freud’s thesis of the rival sublimations of Leonardo’s infantile sexual fantasy into, first, his uniquely advanced scientific investigations, especially those into the flight of birds with its accompanying ambition to be the first man to fly, and, second, his painting with its unfinished works and its temporary abandonment for science. It examines Freud’s commentary on the Mona Lisa, the Virgin and Child with St. Anne and its preparatory London Cartoon, and the late paintings of Bacchus and St John the Baptist, and considers the phenomenon of the fused maternal group of the Virgin and St. Anne in the Louvre painting and the London Cartoon and Laplanche’s development of Freud’s argument about the work of defusion, which it relates to the question of sublimation. Finally it addresses the effects of the return of maternal seduction in psychoanalytic reflection in the motif of the reverse Oedipus and Freud’s extraordinary catharsiscelebration of the figures of male femininity in the Bacchus and St. John with their “secret of love”, “about which silence must be kept”.
Keywords: Anna Metterza, flight of birds, flying machine, fusion, defusion, Leda and the Swan, Leonardo, Michelangelo, maternal seduction and the reverse Oedipus, Mona Lisa, Leonardo, St. John the Baptist, Leonardo, sublimation, dynamics of, from the beginning, original, second, deviant, Virgin and Child with St. Anne (St. Anne with Two Others, Louvre), Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist (London cartoon)
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