Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration
“It is nearly 50 years since the publication of Hans Prinzhorn’s Bildnerei Der Geisteskranken (Artistry of the Mentally Ill). When the book first appeared it created a near sensation with its bold announcement that paintings and drawings executed by asylum inmates were to be treated with high seriousness and aesthetic analysis. It made strikingly original comparisons, for that time, between these works and the art objects made by children and so-called primitive peoples. However, most shocking to some readers in the early 1920s were the parallels to be seen in the art of mental patients and the revolutionary paintings and graphics that were then being widely exhibited by the artistic avant-garde of the day, the German Expressionists. Prinzhorn’s book has maintained a kind of timelessness in spite of advances in art scholarship and the relentless assimilation of the new in the gaudy parade of modern art. Artistry of the Mentally Ill remains an extraordinary document from the history of psychiatry and aesthetics. In a most sensitive and dignified manner it celebrates the humanity, the resourcefulness and the creativity of some of our wretched, anguished brothers, whom society is even now too willing to ignore or discard.” Includes 187 illustrations from the author’s collections, many in color.
Paperback: 274 pages