Law School Discussion

The Da Vinci crock

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #130 on: November 09, 2008, 06:16:54 PM »

The theory publicized in 1997 in the pseudohistorical book The Templar Revelation by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, that the person to the left of Jesus (to his right) is actually Mary Magdalene, rather than the apostle John (as most art historians identify the figure). This theory was central to Dan Brown's popular 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. In the novel, it is said that John/Mary Magdalene has a womanly bosom, feminine facial features, and is swaying gracefully toward Peter. Peter appears to be making a threatening gesture across John/Mary's throat. The author uses this theory to advance his view that Leonardo da Vinci was once the head of a secret society, the Priory of Sion, which protects the secret of Jesus' royal bloodline, and the location of his modern descendants.

The fact is, however, that while damage makes it impossible to be sure of the figure's gender, it appears to be wearing male clothing. Although Mary could have been wearing male clothes, it is not highly probable. There are only 13 figures in the painting, so if one is Mary Magdalene, an apostle is missing: somebody would have noted a missing male apostle earlier. Some have suggested that on the front of the figure of Simon Peter there is one hand with a dagger which is associated to nobody in the picture, but in clearer reproductions this is seen to be Peter's right hand, resting against his hip with the palm turned outward; the knife points towards Bartholomew (far left) who was to be executed by being flayed. It may also indicate Peter's impulsive nature, as he cuts off a soldier's ear in John 18:10. A detailed preliminary drawing of the arm exists. Other paintings from that period (Castagno's 1447 and Ghirlandaio's 1480) also show John to be a very boyish or feminine looking figure with long fair hair. This was because John was supposed to have been the youngest and most unquestioningly devoted of the apostles. Hence he is often shown asleep against Jesus's shoulder. It was common in the period to show neophytes as very young or even feminine figures, as a way of showing their inferior position. This tradition continued well after the period, as the 19th century sculpture in Drogheda Cathedral, Ireland demonstrates. Not to mention that Leonardo also portrayed a male saint with similar effeminate features in his painting St. John the Baptist.

Leonardo da Vinci has been extensively investigated by Sigmund Freud. He took particular pleasure in this investigation, because he saw it as a stage in psychoanalysis's conquest of culture. "Biography, too, must become ours," he wrote to Jung on October 17, 1909, and added that "the riddle of Leonardo da Vinci's character has suddenly become transparent to me. That, then, would be the first step in biography." He took pleasure in writing about him, too, because he greatly admired Leonardo as one "among the greatest of the human race." Yet this admiration did not exempt Leonardo from psychoanalytic scrutinity. "There is no one so great," Freud wrote, "as to be disgraced by being subject to the laws which govern both normal and pathological activity with equal cogency." There were other, hidden, aspects to Freud's preoccupation with Leonardo: his study of this artist, whose homosexual inclinations he considered proved, came at a time when he was analyzing the residues of his own feelings for his former intimate friend Wilhelm Fliess. In any event, quite apart from this autobiographical source of Freud's interest in Leonardo's "case," his discussion of one way to homosexual object-choice remains of great interest.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #131 on: November 09, 2008, 06:30:40 PM »
What is known of Leonardo in this respect is little: but that little is full of significance. In an age which saw struggle between sensuality without restraint and gloomy asceticism, Leonardo represented the cool repudiation of sexuality -- a thing that would scarcely be expected of an artist and a portrayer of feminine beauty. His posthumous writings, which not only deal with the greatest scientific problems, but also contain trivialities that strike us as scarcely worthy of so great a mind (an allegorical natural history, animal fables, jokes, prophecies) are chaste -- one might even say abstinent -- to a degree that would cause surprise in a work of belle lettres even to day. So resolutely do they shun everything sexual that it would seem as if Eros alone, the preserver of all living things, was not worthy material for the investigator in his pursuit of knowledge. It is doubtful whether Leonardo ever embraced a woman in passion; nor is it known that he had any intimate mental relationship with a woman. While he was still an apprentice, living in the house of his master Verrocchio, a charge of forbidden homosexual practices was brought against him, along with some other young people, which ended in his acquittal. He seems to have fallen under the suspicion because he had employed a boy of bad reputation as a model. When he had become a Master, he surrounded himself with handsome boys and youths whom he took as pupils. The last of these pupils, Francesco Melzi, accompanied him to France, remained with him up to his death and was named by him as his heir.

Observation of men's daily lives shows us that most people succeed in directing very considerable portions of their sexual instinctual forces to their professional activity. The sexual instinct is particularly well fitted to make contributions of this kind since it is endowed with a capacity for sublimation: that is, it has the power to replace its immediate aim by other aims which may be valued more highly and which are not sexual. If we reflect on the concurrence in Leonardo of his overpowerful instinct for research and the atrophy of his sexual life (which was restricted to what is called ideal [sublimated] homosexuality) we shall be disposed to claim him as a model instance of sublimation instead of an irruption from the unconscious. The core of his nature, and the secret of it, would appear to be that after his curiosity had been activated in infancy in the service of sexual interests, he succeeded in sublimating the greater part of his libido into an urge for research.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #132 on: November 10, 2008, 09:04:11 AM »
The curiosity of small children is manifested in their untiring love of asking questions; this bewildering to the adult so long as he fails to understand that all these questions are merely circumlocutions and that they cannot come to an end because the child is only trying to make them take the place of a question which he does ask. When he grows bigger and becomes better informer this expression of curiosity often comes to a sudden end. Psychoanalytic investigation provides us with a full explanation of by teaching us that many, perhaps most children, or at least the most gifted ones, pass through a period, beginning when they are about 3, which may be called the period of infantile sexual researches. So far as we know, the curiosity of children of this age, does not awaken spontaneously; usually caused by the actual birth of a little brother or sister, or by a fear of it based on external experiences -- in which the child perceives a threat to his selfish interests. Researches are directed to the question of where babies come from, exactly as if the child were looking for ways and means to avert so undesired an event. In this way, we have been so astonished to learn that children refuse to believe the bits of information that are given to them -- for example, that they energetically reject the fable of the stork with its wealth of mythological meaning -- that they date their intellectual indipendence from this act of disbelief, and that they often feel in serious opposition to adults and in fact never afterwards forgive them for having deceived them here about the true facts of the case. They investigate along their own lines, divine the baby's presence inside the mother's body, etc. By that time they already have a notion of the sexual act, which appears to them to be something hostile and violent. But since their own sexual constitution has not yet reached the point of being able to produce babies, their investigation of where babies come from must inevitably come to nothing too and be abandoned as insoluble. The impression caused by this failure in the first attempt at intellectual indipendence appears to be of lasting and deeply depressing kind.

When the period of infantile sexual researches has been terminated by a wave of energitic sexual repression, the instinct for research has three distinct possible vicissitudes open to it owing to its early connection with sexual interests. In the first of these, research shares the fate of sexuality; thenceforward, curiosity remains inhibited and the free activity of intelligence may be limited for the whole of the subject's lietime, especially as shortly after this the powerful religious inhibition of thought is brought into play by education. This is the type characterized by neurotic inhibition. We know very well that the intellectual weakness which has been acquired in this way gives an effective impetus to the outbreak of a neurotic illness. In a second type the inhibited development is sufficiently strong to resist the sexual repression which has hold of it. Since time after the infantile sexual researches have come to an end, the intelligence, having grown stronger, recalls the old association and offers its help in evading sexual repression, and the suppresed sexual activities, in a distorted and unfree form, but sufficiently powerful to sexualize thinking itself and to color intellectual operations with the pleasure and anxiety that belong to sexual processes proper. Here investigation becomes sexual activity, often the exclusive one, and the feeling that comes from settling things, in one's mind and explaining them replaces sexual satisfaction; but the interminable character of the child's researches is also repeated in the fact that brooding never ends, and that the intellectual feeling, so much desired, of having found a solution recedes more and more into the distance.

In virtue of a special disposition, the third type, which is the rarest and the most perfect, escapes both inhibition of thought and neurotic compulsive thinking. It is true that here too sexual repression comes about, but it does not succeed in relegating a component instinct of sexual desire to the unconscious. Instead, the libido evades the fate of repression by being sublimated from the very beginning into curiosity and by becoming attached to the powerful instinct for research as a reinforcement. Here, too, the research becomes to some extent compulsive and a substitute for sexual activity; but owing to the complete difference in the underlying psychical processes (sublimation instead of an irruption from the unconscious) the quality of neurosis is absent; there is no attachment to the original complexes of infantile sexual research, and the instinct can operate freely in the service of intellectual interest. Sexual repression, which has made the instinct so strong through the addition to it of sublimated libido, is still taken into account by the inctinct, in that it avoids any concern with sexual themes.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #133 on: November 10, 2008, 09:41:16 AM »
In a passage about the flight of vultures Leonardo suddenly interrupts himself to pursue a memory from very early years which had sprung to his mind: 'It seems that I was always destined to be so deeply concerned with vultures; for I recall as one of my very earliest memories that while I was in my cradle a vulture came down to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me many times with its tail against my lips'. If we examine Leonardo's phantasy of the vulture, it does not appear strange for long. We seem to recall having come across the same sort of thing in many places, for example, in dreams; so that we may venture to translate the phantasy from its own special language into words that are generally understood. The translation is then seen to point to an erotic content. A tail, 'coda' is one of the most familiar symbols and substitutive expressions for the male organ (the d i c k), in Italian no less than in other languages; the situation in the phantasy, of a vulture opening the child's mouth and beating about inside it vigorously with its tail, corresponds to the idea of an act of fellatio, a sexual act in which the penis is put into the mouth of the person involved. It is strange that this phantasy is so completely passive in character; moreover it resembles certain dreams and phantasies found in women or passive homosexuals (who play the part of woman in sexual relations).

What the phantasy conceals is merely a reminiscence of suckling -- or being suckled -- at his mother's breast, a scene of human beauty that he, like so many artists, undertook to depict with his brush, in the guise of the mother of God and her child. There is indeed another point which we do not yet understand and which we must not lose sight of: this reminiscence, which has the same importance for both sexes, has been transformed by the man Leonardo into a passive homosexual phantasy. For the time being we shall put aside the question of what there may be to connect homosexuality with sucking at the mother's breast, merely recalling that tradition does not represent Leonardo as a man with homosexual feelings. In this connection, it is irrelevant to our purpose whether the charge brought against the young Leonardo was justified or not. What decides whether we describe someone as an invert is not his actual behavior, but his emotional attitude.

In Leonardo's case we believe that we know the real content of the phantasy: the replacement of his mother by the vulture indicates that the child was aware of his father's abscence and found himself alone with his mother. The fact of Leonardo's illegitimate birth is in harmony with his vulture phantasy; it was only on this account that he could compare himself to a vulture child. We now come up against the strange problem of why this content has been recast into a homosexual situation. The mother who suckles her child -- or to put it better, at whose breast the child sucks -- has been turned into a vulture that puts its tail into the child's mouth. We've asserted that, according to the usual way in which language makes use of substitutes, the vulture's 'coda' cannot possibly signify anything other than a male genital, a penis. But how imaginative activity can succeed in endowing precisely this bird which is a mother with the distinguishing mark of masculinity; and in view of this absurdity we appear to be at a loss how to reduce this creation of Leonardo's phantasy to any rational meaning.

Well, there was once a time when the male genital was found compatible with the picture of the mother. When a male child first turns his curiosity to the riddles of sexual life, he is dominated by his interest in his own genital. He finds that part of the body too valuable and too important for him to be able to believe that it could be missing in other people whom he feels he resembles so much. As he cannot guess that there exists another type of genital structure of equal worth, he is forced to make the assumption that all human beings, women as well as men, possess a penis like his own. This preconception is so firmly planted in the youthful investigator that it is not destroyed even when he first observes the genitals of little girls. His perception tells him, it is true, that there is something different from what there is in him, but he is incapable of admitting to himself that the content of this perception is that he cannot find a penis in girls. That the penis could be missing strikes him as an uncanny and intolerable idea, and so in an attempt at a compromise he comes to the conclusion that little girls have a penis as well, only it is still very small; it will grow later. If it seems from later observations that this expectation is not realized, he has another remedy at his disposal: little girls too had a penis, but it was cut off and in its place was left a wound. This theoretical advance already makes use of personal experiences of a distressing kind: the boy in the meantime has heard the threat that the organ which is so dear to him will be taken away from him if he shows his interest in it too plainly. Under the influence of this threat of castration he now sees the notion he has gained of the female genitals in a new light; henceforth he will tremble for his masculinity, but at the same time he will despise the unhappy creatures on whom the cruel punishment has, as he supposes, already fallen.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #134 on: November 10, 2008, 10:46:36 AM »
As mentioned above, the most striking feature of Leonardo's childhood phantasy is that it changed sucking at the mother's breast into being suckled, that is, into passivity, and thus into a situation whose nature is undoubtedly homosexual. When we remember historical probability of Leonardo having behaved in his life as one who was emotionally homosexual, the question is forced upon us whether this phantasy does not indicate the existence of a causal connection between Leonardo's relation with his mother in childhood and his later manifest, if ideal [sublimated] homosexuality. Homosexual men who had taken in Freud's time vigorous action against the restrictions imposed by law on their sexual activity, were fond of representing themselves, through their theoretical spokesmen, as a 'third sex'. They were, they claimed, men who were innately compelled by organic determinants to find pleasure in men, having been debarred from obtaining it in women. Much as one would be glad on grounds of humanity to endorse their claims, one would have to treat their theories with some reserve, for they have been advanced without regard for the psychical genesis of homosexuality. In all male homosexual cases the subjects had had a very intense erotic attachment to a female person, as a rule their mother, during the first period of childhood. Mothers of some homosexual persons are frequently masculine women, women with energetic traits of character, who were able to push the father out of his proper place. The same thing had been occassionally observed by Freud, but he was more strongly impressed by cases in which the father was absent from the beginning or left the scene at an early date, so that the boy found himself entirely under feminine influence. Indeed it almost seems as though the presence of a strong father would ensure that the son made the correct decision in his choice of object, namely someone of the opposite sex.

After this preliminary stage a transformation sets in whose mechanism is known to us but whose motive forces we do not yet understand. The child's love for his mother cannot continue to develop consciously any further; it succumbs to repression. The boy represses his love for his mother: he puts himself in her place, identifies himself with her, and takes his own person as a model in whose likeness he chooses the new objects of his love. In this way he has become a homosexual. What he has done in fact is to slip back to auto-erotism: for the boys whom he now loves as grows up are after all only substitutive figures and revivals of himself in childhood -- boys whom he loves in the way in which his mother loved him when he was a child. He finds the objects of his love along the path of narcissism, as we say; for Narcissus, according to the Greek legend, was a youth who preferred his own reflection to everything else and who was changed into the lovely flower of that name.

Psychological considerations of a deeper kind justify the assertion that a man who has become a homosexual in this way remains unconsciously fixated to the mnemic image of his mother. By repressing his love for his mother he preserves it in his unconsciousness and from now on remains faithful to her. While he seems to pursue boys and be their lover, he is in reality running away from the other women, who might cause him to be unfaithful. In individual cases direct observation has also enabled us to show that the man who gives the appearance of being susceptible only to the charms of men is in fact attracted by women in the same way as other men; but on each occassion he hastens to transfer the excitation he has received from the woman on to a male object, and in this manner he repeats over and over again the mechanism by which he acquired his homosexuality. We are far from wishing to exaggerate the importance of these explanations of the psychical genesis of homosexuality. It is quite obvious that they are in sharp contrast to the official theories of those who spoke those days for homosexuals, but we know that they are not sufficiently comprehensive to make a conclusive explanation of the problem possible. What is for practical reasons called homosexuality may arise from a whole variety of psychosexual inhibitory processes; the particular process we have singled out is perhaps only one among many, and is perhaps related to only one type of 'homosexuality'. We must also admit that the number of cases of homosexual type in which it is possible to point to the determinants which we require far exceeeds the number of those where the deduced effect actually takes place; so that we too cannot reject the part played by unknown constitutional factors, to which the whole of homosexuality is usually traced.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #135 on: November 10, 2008, 11:11:59 AM »
Returning to the vulture phantasy now, we'd have to stress that in words which only too plainly recall a description of a sexual act ('and struck me many times with its tail against my lips'), Leonardo shows the intensity of the erotic relations between mother and child. From this linking of his mother's (the vulture's) activity with the prominence of the mouth zone it is not difficult to guess that a second memory is contained in the phantasy. This may be translated: 'My mother pressed innumerable passionate kisses on my mouth.' The phantasy is compounded from the memory of being suckled and being kissed by his mother.

As far as his father is concerned, Ser Piero da Vinci was a notary and descendant of notaries, a man of great energy who reached a position of esteem and prosperity. He was married four times. His first two wives died childless, and it was only his third wife who presented him with his first legitimate son, in 1476, by which time Leonardo had reached the age of 24 and had long ago exchanged his father's home for the studio of his master Verrocchio. By his fourth and last wife, whom he married when he was already in his fifties, he had nine more sons and two daughters. It cannot be doubted that his father too came to play an important part in Leonardo's psychosexual development, and not only negatively by his abscence during the boy's first childhood years, but also directly by his presence in the later part of Leonardo's childhood. No one who as a child desires his mother can escape wanting to put himself in his father's place, can fail to identify himself with him in his imagination, and later to make it his task in life to gain ascendancy over him. When Leonardo was received into his grandfather's house before he had reached the age of 5, his young step-mother Albiera must certainly have taken his mother's place where his feelings were concerned, and he must have found himself in what way he called the normal relationship of rivalry with his father. As we know, a decision in favor of homosexuality only takes place round about the years of puberty. When this decision had been arrived at in Leonardo's case, his identification with his father lost all significance for his sexual life, but it nevertheless continued in other spheres of non-erotic activity. We hear that he was fond of magnificence and fine clothes, and kept servants and horses, although, in Vasari's words 'he possessed almost nothing and did little work'. The responsibility for these tastes is not to be attributed solely to his feeling for beauty: we recognize in them at the same time a compulsion to copy and to outdo his father.

If his imitation of his father did him damage as an artist, his rebellion against his father was the infantile determinant of what was perhaps an equally sublime achievement in the field of scientific research. He dared to utter the bold assertion which contains within itself the justification for all independent research: 'He who appeals to authority when there is a difference of opinion works with his memory rather than with his reason'. Thus he became the first modern natural scientist, and an abundance of discoveries and suggestive ideas rewarded his courage for being the first man since the time of Greeks to probe the secrets of nature while relying solely on observation and his own judgement. But in teaching that authority should be looked down on and that imitation of the 'ancients' should be repudiated, and in constantly urging that the study of nature was the source of all truth, he was merely repeating -- in the highest sublimation attainable by man -- the one-sided point of view which had already forced itself on the little boy as he gazed in wonder on the world. If we translate scientific abstraction back again into concrete individual experience, we see that the 'ancients' and authority simply correspond to his father, and nature once more becomes the tender and kindly mother who had nourished him. In most other human beings -- no less to-day than in primaeval times -- the need for support from an authority of some sort is so compelling that their world begins to totter if that authority is threatened. Only Leonardo could dispense with that support; he would not have been able to do so had he not learned in the first years of his life to do without his father. His later scientific research, with all its boldness and indipendence, presupposed the existence of infantile sexual researches uninhibited by his father, and was a prolongation of them with the sexual element excluded.

When anyone has, like Leonardo, escaped being initimidated by his father during his earliest childhood, and has in his researches cast away the fetters of authority, it would be in the sharpest contradiction to our expectation if we found that he had remained a believer and had been unable to escape from dogmatic religion. Psychoanalysis has made us familiar with the intimate connection between the father-complex and belief in God; it has shown us that a personal God is, psychologically, nothing other than an exalted father, and it brings us evidence every day of how young people lose religious beliefs as soon as their father's authority breaks down. It does not seem as if the instance of Leonardo could show this view of religious belief to be mistaken. Accusations charging him with unbelief or (what at that time came to the same thing) with apostasy from Christianity were brought against him while he was still alive.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #136 on: November 10, 2008, 11:47:24 AM »
In Leonardo's case, as in the development of the mental life of children, the first researches of childhood were concerned with the problems of sexuality. Indeed he himself gives this away in a transparent disguise by connecting his urge for research with the vulture phantasy, and by singling out the problem of the flight of birds as one to which, as the result of a special chain of circumstances, he was destined to turn his attention. A highly obscure passage in his notes which is concerned with the flight of birds, and which sounds like a prophecy, gives a very good demonstration of the degree of affective interest with which he clung to his wish to succeed in imitating the art of flying himself: 'The great bird will take its first flight from the back of its Great Swan; it will fill the universe with stupefaction, and all writings with renown, and be the eternal glory of the nest where it was born'. He probably hoped that he himself would be able to fly one day, and we know from wish-fulfilling dreams what bliss is expected from the fulfillment of that hope. But why do so many people dream of being able to fly?

The answer is that to fly or to be a bird is only a disguise for another wish, and that more than one bridge, involving words or things, leads us to recognize what it is. When we consider that inquisitive children are told that babies are brought by a large bird, such as the stork; when we find that the ancient represented the phallus as having wings; that the commonest expression in German for male sexual activity is 'vögeln' ['to bird': 'vögel' is the German for 'bird']; that the male organ is actually called 'l'uccello' ['the bird'] in Italian -- all of these are only small fragments from a whole mass of connected ideas, from which we learn that in dreams the wish to be able to fly is to be understood as nothing else than a longing to be capable of sexual performance. This is an early infantile wish. When an adult recalls his childhood it seems to him to have been a happy time, in which one enjoyed the moment and looked to the future without any wishes; it is for this reason that he envies children. But if children themselves were able to give us information earlier they would probably tell a different story. It seems that childhood is not the blissful idyll into which we distort it in retrospect, and that, on the contrary, children are goaded on through the years of childhood by the one wish to get big and do what grown-ups do. This wish is the motive of all their games. Whenever children feel in the course of their sexual researches that in the province which is so mysterious but nevertheless so important there is something wonderful of which adults are capable but they are forbidden to know of and do, they are filled with a violent wish to be able to do it, and they dream of it in the form of flying, or they prepare this disguise of their wish to be used in their later flying dreams. Thus, aviation, too, has its infantile erotic roots.

Here, was one problem at least which has escaped the repression that later estranged him from sexuality. With slight changes in meaning, the same subject continued to interest him from his years of childhood until the time of his most complete intellectual maturity; and it may well be that the skill that he desired was no more attainable by him in his primary sexual sense than in its mechanical one, and that he remained frustrated in both wishes. Indeed, the great Leonardo remained like a child for the whole of his life in more than one way; it is said that all great men are bound to retain some infantile part. Even as an adult he continued to play, and this was another reason why he often appeared uncanny and incomprehensible to his contemporaries. It is only us who are unsatisfied that he would construct the most elaborate mechanical toys for court festivities and ceremonial receptions, for we are reluctant to see the artist turning his power to such trifles. He himself seems to have shown no unwillingness to spend his time thus.

Leonardo himself, with his love of truth and his thirst for knowledge, would not have discouraged an attempt on the part of anyone to take the trivial pecularities and riddles in his nature as a starting-point, for discovering what determined his mental and intellectual development. We do homage to him by learning from him. It does not detract from his greatness if we make a study of the sacrifices which his development from childhood must have entailed, and if we bring together the factors which have stamped him with the tragic mark of failure. We must expressly insist that we have never reckoned Leonardo as a neurotic or a 'nerve case', as the awkward phrase goes. Anyone who protests at our so much as daring to examine him in the light of discoveries gained in the field of pathology is still clinging to prejudices which we have to-day rightly abandoned. We no longer think that health and illness, normal and neurotic people, are to be sharply distinguished from each other, and that neurotic traits must necessarily be taken as proofs of general inferiority. To-day we know that neurotic symptoms are structures which are substitutes for our development from a child to a civilized human being. We know too that we all produce such substitutive structures, and that it is only their number, intensity and distribution which justify us in using the practical concept of illness and in inferring the presence of constitutional inferiority. From the slight indications we have about Leonardo's personality we should be inclined to place him close to the type of neurotic that we describe as 'obsessional', and we may compare his researches to the 'obsessive brooding' of neurotics, and his inhibitions to what are known as their 'abulias'.

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #137 on: November 11, 2008, 05:00:16 PM »
das Geviert, innocent as Leonardo's vulture phantasy is, I bet the poor man would have never ever written it, had he known a paranoid individual like Sigmund Freud would make such a big deal out of it!!!

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #138 on: November 12, 2008, 12:17:56 PM »

Leonardo da Vinci has been extensively investigated by Sigmund Freud. He took particular pleasure in this investigation, because he saw it as a stage in psychoanalysis's conquest of culture. "Biography, too, must become ours," he wrote to Jung on October 17, 1909, and added that "the riddle of Leonardo da Vinci's character has suddenly become transparent to me. That, then, would be the first step in biography." He took pleasure in writing about him, too, because he greatly admired Leonardo as one "among the greatest of the human race." Yet this admiration did not exempt Leonardo from psychoanalytic scrutinity. "There is no one so great," Freud wrote, "as to be disgraced by being subject to the laws which govern both normal and pathological activity with equal cogency." There were other, hidden, aspects to Freud's preoccupation with Leonardo: his study of this artist, whose homosexual inclinations he considered proved, came at a time when he was analyzing the residues of his own feelings for his former intimate friend Wilhelm Fliess. In any event, quite apart from this autobiographical source of Freud's interest in Leonardo's "case," his discussion of one way to homosexual object-choice remains of great interest.

Freud penned the study on Leonardo Da Vinci and his homosexuality, projecting a bit his own homosexuality onto Leonardo. Freud's basic suggestion was that much of Leonardo's artistic and scientific activity actually had an unconscious defensive meaning, to protect him from learning about his own internal self. Now before everyone reaches for the pinch of salt, young Leonardo was acquitted of sodomy of a notorious male prostitute in 1476, but only got off through lack of evidence. Many of his works, like the Bacchus and the St. John, show examples of bisexuality, being peculiarly androgynous males. Furthermore Leonardo's drawings of the external female genitalia are inaccurate, and are of a form which have led many to suggest they were taken from a cadaver, or that they were made under pressure of aversion or anxiety. In his drawings of nude females, such as the studies of Leda and the Swan, the crotch appears smooth and imperforate, a mere extension of the mons Veneris. Most of his drawings of sexual intercourse are of the couple in a standing position facing each other - an unusual posture to pick for anyone personally familiar with the heterosexual act.

Perhaps Freud himself identified strongly with Leonardo, because of anxiety over his own homosexual impulses and his admiration of Leonardo's ability to sublimate them into non-sexual activities. After all Freud had problems with his own sexuality. His marriage was a profound disappointment sexually and emotionally. He seems to have terminated sexual relations with his wife at the age of 40. Yet while his sex life was coming to a halt, around 1895, he was also entering a hugely creative period of writing. It was precisely during this period that he developed the concept of sublimation - the transformation of sexual energy into culturally creative acts. One of the lessons of Freud and Leonardo is that it sometimes takes a genius to really understand another. For example in the case of Freud and Leonardo, Freud started by trying to understand why Leonardo tended to leave work unfinished, which was actually a problem for Freud himself. One of Freud's legacies is to leave us wondering if Leonardo, like other geniuses, could have gone on to conquer the personality difficulties which impeded further development of his ideas, whether flight may not have been perfected in the 15th-century.

And here it is an article on the connection between Freud's cocaine habit and his homosexual tendencies:

Re: The Da Vinci crock
« Reply #139 on: November 12, 2008, 02:58:14 PM »

And here it is an article on the connection between Freud's cocaine habit and his homosexual tendencies:

There is a certain interest in the cocaine episode in Freud's life. The explanation lies in that cocaine belongs to the group of prohibited substances today and sensation mongers imagine Freud's association with cocaine might reveal outrageous private secrets! People imagine that the presence of a cocaine episode in Freud's life could be an indication of a drug addicted Freud. On the other hand, the need to demolish great personalities with a decisive influence on Western culture seems to be irresistible. Hence the careful pursuit for biographical details that might prove an active support to this odd need. Freud's relationship with cocaine nevertheless does not satisfy either spicy biographical details mongers or slanderers. The truth is that Freud was a cocaine user indeed. Only that cocaine was not prohibited during his time, but prescribed and used as an euphoric. The harmful side of the substance had not been discovered yet. The fact that famous beverages such Coca-Cola contained coke extract is quite telling! Cocaine addiction and its harmful effects were only discovered later.

You have this poverty-stricken 28-year-old Freud suffering from depression, chronic fatigue, and other neurotic symptoms. "I have been reading about cocaine, the essential constituent of coca leaves, which some Indian tribes chew to enable them to resist privations and hardships," Freud wrote to his fiancée Martha on April 21, 1884. "I am procuring some myself and will try it with cases of heart disease and also of nervous exhaustion..." He used cocaine as a stimulus, something to help him manage his depression, achieve a state of well being, and relax under tense circumstances. Freud even sent some of his precious cocaine to Martha, "to make her strong and give her cheeks a red color." Indeed he pressed it on his friends and colleagues, both for themselves and their patients; he gave it to his sisters. In short, looked at from the vantage point of our present knowledge, he was rapidly becoming a public menace.

Cocaine also had medical advantages for Freud. He started his research in this field concerning the impact of cocaine on medicine, on minor surgery to be more precise. This is what he himself tells us about his endeavor: "In 1884, a side but deep interest" - Freud mentioned in his biography - "made me have the Merck company supply me with an alkaloid quite little known at the time, to study its physiological effects. While engrossed in this research, the opportunity for me then occurred to make a trip to see my fiancée, whom I had not seen for almost 2 years. I then quickly completed my investigation on cocaine and, in the short text I published, I included the notice that other uses of the substance will soon be revealed too. At the same time, I made an insistent recommendation to my friend L. Konigstein, an eye doctor, to check on the extent to which the anesthetic qualities of cocaine might also be used with sore eyes. On my return, I found that it was not him but another friend of mine, Carl Koller (now in New York), who, after hearing me talking about cocaine, had in fact made the decisive experiments on animals' eyes and had presented his findings at the Ophthalmology Congress in Heidelberg. That is why Koller has been rightfully considered as the discoverer of cocaine-based local anesthesia, which has become so important in minor surgery..."

The fact that Freud had so closely missed scientific celebrity with the publication of his findings about cocaine cannot shroud a tragic event he does not mention in his biography. His research of cocaine effects was also due to a personal reason. He hoped cocaine might help his friend von Fleischl-Marxow, who had become a morphine addict, as result of attempts to soothe the pains inflicted on him by an infection. Nevertheless, his friend's cocaine prescriptions proved fatal. "If only it had soothed his pain", Freud would exclaim in 1885. On the contrary, Fleischl-Marxow died a slow, painful death and the alleged remedy had done nothing but increase his suffering. He had become a cocaine addict, in the same way he had been a morphine addict, and ended in using very large quantities thereof.