This edition includes a modern introduction and a list of suggested further reading.
Sigmund Freud once described his essay on Leonardo da Vinci as the most beautiful thing he ever wrote. In Leonardo da Vinci, of course, he had as his subject not just an ordinary Italian painter, but the prototype of the universal genius, the "Renaissance man," the creator of some of the most beautiful, familiar, yet mysterious paintings of all time. Today, almost a century after its publication in 1910, Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood remains a masterpiece of what Freud called "pathography" - the effort to understand the life and works of a celebrated cultural figure through the investigation of his or her crucial psychological conflicts. A master of German prose style, Freud was awarded the Goethe Prize by the City of Frankfurt in 1930 for the literary quality of his voluminous writings on the workings of the human mind.
In psychoanalysis as a developmental theory, sublimation implies the transformation of , from to more advanced forms of mentation, and is associated with development of human culture. It also entails a desuxualization that is described by the transition from primary to secondary . Freud's essay on Leonardo da Vinci is a sustained description of sublimation. For Freud, Leonardo had "merely converted his passion into a thirst for knowledge."
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The painter Trevor Winkfield--born in Leeds in 1944 and residing in New York City since 1969--has been a sought-after contributor to publications such as , and for two decades. Editors have long trusted his unique sensibilities and relied on his capacity to usher in fresh understandings of art. Take, for instance, Winkfields pure excitement and audacity at weaving the work of the proto-Surrealist author Raymond Roussel into an essay on Leonardo da Vincis "Last Supper." Unapologetically the writings of an artist, not a critic, in Winkfield engages some of the greatest names in art (Vermeer, Chardin, Signac, Ryder, Dadd, Brancusi, Cornell, Duchamp, Johns and of course Braque, among others)--asking questions, seeing the details and sharing the obscure facts that only an artist like Winkfield could notice and convey with such great charm.