Dream Analysis Depicted: Dreams Seen Awake / Real Words Seen Asleep

National Museum Of Western Art, Tokyo

poster for Dream Analysis Depicted: Dreams Seen Awake / Real Words Seen Asleep
[Image: Albrecht Dürer "The Dream of the Doctor" (1498) engraving]

This event has ended.

The great German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer stated in the manuscript of his unfinished work Nourishment for Young Painters, “How often do I see great art in my sleep, but on waking cannot recall it; as soon as I awake, my memory forgets it.”

Dürer, known to have had dreams of apocalyptic floods in his late years, commented, “A good painter is inwardly full of figures.” He thus recognized that the countless image memories stored in the human brain were all the more actively used, and undergo rich variation, during sleep rather than during waking hours. This astonishing statement was made at the beginning of the 16th century, centuries before the 20th century rise of Surrealism.

Echoing these thoughts by Dürer, Western European artists of the pre-Renaissance often revealed their interest in dreams. They not only expressed these thoughts in words, they also depicted them in paintings and prints. Indeed, can’t these works be called “depicted dream analysis,” even though they long precede Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams (1900).

This small study exhibition drawn from the NMWA collection features works on the subject of dreams by artists ranging from Dürer and Giorgio Ghisi through such later and modern artists as Francisco de Goya, Max Klinger, Félix Bracquemond, and Odilon Redon. The exhibition further sheds light on such themes as Metamorphosis and the Temptation of St. Anthony as it explores the images of sleeping, night, unconscious desires and temptations found in Western European art.

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Schedule

from March 19, 2016 to June 12, 2016
Open until 20:00 on Fridays.

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