Author's talk, Robert Snell - Portraits of the Insane: Théodore Géricault
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Author's talk, Robert Snell - Portraits of the Insane: Théodore Géricault

Author's talk, Robert Snell - Portraits of the Insane: Théodore Géricault

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The Anna Freud Centre

12 Maresfield Gardens

London, United Kingdom

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Please note: the lecture will take place at The Anna Freud Centre, 12 Maresfield Gardens from 7pm, followed by the book launch at The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, NW3 5SX from 8pm.


Analytic psychotherapist and art historian, Robert Snell joins us to discuss his forthcoming book, Portraits of the Insane. Théodore Géricault and the Subject of Psychotherapy (Karnac Autumn 2016).

Timed shortly after the 225th anniversary of Théodore Géricault's birth, the lecture is followed by a drinks reception marking the launch of the publication.

Robert Snell's book Portraits of Insane is published by Karnac in September 2016. Pre-order your copy here.

In the gloomy aftermath of the 1789 Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, the French painter Théodore Géricault (1791–1824) made a series of portraits of patients in an asylum or clinic. The paintings are unprecedented: they show people designated as insane as ordinary, unique individuals. They point to a new, essentially democratic conception of the human being, sane or mad, as available for relationship and communication: a ‘therapeutic subject’. Made during a period of massive social, cultural, and economic transformation, they register a critical moment in the history of subjectivity, and connect us to some living roots of psychoanalysis.They challenge us profoundly, in our own conflicted era, to find responses in ourselves to the stranger in our midst.

‘The scope of this book is remarkable. Robert Snell’s meditation on five portraits of mad people by Géricault is the springboard for a fascinating cultural investigation. He surveys two centuries of change in the understanding of human nature, and considers how this is reflected in changing approaches to the treatment of madness.The breadth and depth of scholarship on offer here is exceptional, and this admirable book is an object lesson in the relation of psychoanalysis to the history of ideas.’ — Michael Parsons, British Psychoanalytical Society and French Psychoanalytic Association

Robert Snell is an analytic psychotherapist and art historian, a member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Therapeutic Education at Roehampton University.

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The Anna Freud Centre

12 Maresfield Gardens

London, United Kingdom

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