30520 - Psychology of Art (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

Course contents

This course will treat and deal with some of the fundamental issues of a psychology of art from a Freudian point of view, with special reference to the dynamics of reparation (elabouration of mourning, repetition compulsion, identification processes). These mechanisms will be explored especially in connection to the theme of identity and body in the light of a psychology of the portrait and self-portrait.

Special reflections will be made on the Outsider Art (also through meetings with experts on the subject)and artistic fruition, especially as regards the issues imposed by some models of contemporary art.


The examination will focus on the following texts:

1. S. Freud, Saggi sull'arte, la letteratura e il linguaggio, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 1999;

2. S. Ferrari, Lo specchio dell'Io. Autoritratto e psicologia, Laterza, Bari-Roma 2002;

3. C. Tartarini, Il pennello di Cupido. Il dottor Meige e il mal d'amore nella pittura olandese del Seicento, Carocci, Roma 2017;

4. S. Ferrari e C. Tartarini (Eds), AutoFocus. Autoritratto fotografico tra arte e terapia, Clueb, Bologna, 2010; or, choice, S. Ferrari (Ed), Il corpo adolescente: percorsi interdisciplinari tra arte e psicologia, Bologna, CLUEB, 2007;

5. M. Recalcati, Il miracolo della forma. Per un'estetica psicoanalitica, B. Mondadori, Milano 2007; o, choice, A. Dal Lago e S. Giordano, Mercanti d'aura. Logiche dell'arte contemporanea, Il Mulino, Bologna 2006.

Please note:

Students who have already read the Saggi of Freud in the previous years, shall replace them with one of the following texts:

E. R. Kandel, L'età dell'inconscio. Arte, mente e cervello dalla grande Vienna ai nostri giorni, trad. it, Raffaello Cortina 2012;

B. Tosatti e S. Ferrari (Eds), Inquietudine delle intelligenze. Contributi e riflessioni sull'Arte Irregolare, "Quaderni di PsicoArt" vol. 6, 2015 (http://www.psicoart.unibo.it/quaderni-di-psicoart-vol-6-2015-inquietudine-delle-intelligenze-contributi-e-riflessioni-sullarte-irregolare/ .

Students who have never read Freud in the previous years, they are invited to integrate the reading with:

S. Ferrari, Nuovi lineamenti di una psicologia dell'arte. A partire da Freud, Clueb, Bologna 2012.

Teaching methods

Lectures accompanied by various audio-visual media, meetings with external guests, discussions.

Assessment methods

The assessment consists of an interview on the 5 books of the bibliography. The interview will assess the methodological and critical skills acquired by the students through the course attendance and/or the study of the recommended texts. It will be particularly appreciated the ability of the students to deal with the various perspectives emerging by the recommended bibliography, linking the reading of Freud's Saggi with the other texts. Students will be also evaluated considering not only the objective preparation related to the acquisition of the fundamentals of the discipline, but also their presentation skills and language properties.

To take the examination, students are required to register at the specific webpage within the set deadlines. Students unable to sign up by the set date are required to report promptly (and in any case before the official closing of the registration list) the problem with the student office. The teacher will decide whether to admit the student or not.

Evaluation criteria for the interview:

1. It will be graded as excellent the performance of those students demonstrating to be able to thoroughly analyse the texts and to put them into an organic view of the topics discussed during the course. The proper use of the specific language during the examination will be also essential.

2. It will be graded as discrete the performance of those students with mostly mnemonic knowledge, no in-depth analysis capabilities and a correct, but not always appropriate, language of the recommended texts.

3. It will be graded as barely sufficient the performance of those students with approximate knowledge, superficial understanding, poor analytical capabilities and a not always appropriate language.

4. It will be graded as insufficient the performance of those students with learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography.

Teaching tools

Digital slides and power point projections. You can find them on the website that will be indicated below

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Stefano Ferrari