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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17759/chp

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2005

Published quarterly

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Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR

 

Types of Catharsis in the Perception of Paintings 43

Yermolayeva M.V., PhD in Psychology, Professor, Chair of Pedagogical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, mar-erm@mail.ru
Lubovsky D.V., PhD in Psychology, professor at the chair of educational psychology, department of educational psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Moscow, Russia, lubovsky@yandex.ru
Abstract
The article analyzes the functions and structure of psychological catharsis as a cultural means of meaning-making. Basing on eudemonistic understanding of catharsis, the authors show its meaning-making action. In the structure of catharsis, there are phases of excitement (pathos), concentration (‘merging’ with the main character), and transcendence (‘reaching beyond one’s limitations’) which, through personal reflection, concludes with the individual’s ‘return to oneself’, transformed through the encounter with the work of art. The authors consider catharsis as an event that encourages action and creates the space of opportunities for it; basing on the research of art historians, the authors describe two kinds of catharsis (in the perception of Caravaggio’s and Rembrandt’s works). The authors identify psychotechnical means of interrupting catharsis at the moment of emotional extremum (in the works of Caravaggio) and the conditions for completing the reflective catharsis with the ‘return to one’s transformed self’ (using the paintings of Rembrandt as an example). The paper concludes with an outline of further prospects of exploring catharsis as a cultural means of meaning-making.

Keywords: catharsis, eudemonistic interpretation, phases, psychotechnical means, paintings

Column: Essay

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17759/chp.2019150313

For Reference

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