Desire in Painting: Art and Lacan’s Theory of the Scopic Drive

By Jonathan Conley.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Through an analysis of painting and reformulation of Freud’s theory of the drive (dérive), psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan argues that paintings such as Hans Holbein’s "The Ambassadors" exemplify the corporeal structure of the scopic drive and desire to see. The following essay will outline Lacan’s interpretation and reformulation of Freud’s theory of the drive, presenting Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory to understand the function of desire in painting and to explain how and why paintings offer a unique glimpse into often-neglected corporeal structure of the scopic drive and fundamental structure of vision that governs the emergence of subjectivity.

Keywords: Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, Philosophy

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.19-26. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 755.901KB).

Jonathan Conley

Graduate Student, Department of Philosophy, Boston College, USA


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