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Psychology - Psychology, general | Painting and Our Inner World - The Psychology of Image Making

Painting and Our Inner World

The Psychology of Image Making

Machotka, Pavel

2003, IX, 217 p.

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  • About this book

That painting is at least in part an expression of the painter's personality is obvious from the differences between very impulsive and very controlled painters - between the paintings of a Picasso, for example, and a Piet Mondriaan. But these differences have not been looked at in a controlled setting. In this book, Machotka sets out to understand the images produced by a broad sample of students and to connect them to the students' inner lives - to their interpersonal relations, their wishes and fears, their impulses and inhibitions. Their image making was followed in detail and their personality was studied in a long clinical interview, producing a rich, individual picture of the style and substance of the inner life of each. Then the images were grouped into seven types by cluster analysis. The personal data were found to fit the image clusters closely: for example, images with little form and much narration were produced by people with strong compensatory longings, while dense, collaged images were made by participants who exercised relentless control over one major issue in their life. Other individuals had a strong need to integrate their lives and produced well-formed, well-composed images. As expected, no single motive explained all artistic activity - but the style of the images, such as their inhibited formality, abstractness, or fluid boldness, reflected what could be called the map of each participant's interpersonal world.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Biographie - Emotion - Psyche - assessment - paintings - psychodynamics - psychology

Related subjects » Personality & Social Psychology - Psychology - Psychology, general

Table of contents 

Acknowledgements. Introduction: Art, the body, and relationships. 1. Artists and their biographies. 2. Image makers and their purposes: our methods. 3. First cluster: narrative informality and compensatory longings. 4. Second cluster: inhibited, disconnected forms and downcast angry lives. 5. Third cluster: bold, flowing process and the direct expression of emotion. 6. Fourth cluster: dense paintings and relentless control. 7. Fifth cluster: imposed order, inhibition, and the acceptance of parental standards. 8. Sixth cluster: consistent style and the need to integrate. 9. Seventh cluster: abstraction, avoidance, and the search for firm boundaries. 10. Art making, maps of interpersonal space, and the world of art. Appendix A: Psychological analysis of the clusters: a partial replication; J. Keiser, K. Berlin. Appendix B: Interview forms and statistical tables. References.

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