Artistry of the Mentally Ill

A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration

  • Authors
  • Hans Prinzhorn

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Introduction

    1. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 1-7
  3. Theoretical Part The Psychological Foundations of Pictorial Configuration

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 11-12
    3. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 15-20
    4. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 21-23
    5. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 23-26
    6. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 26-28
    7. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 28-34
  4. The Pictures

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 35-35
    2. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 37-40
    3. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 40-44
    4. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 65-83
    5. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 83-95
    6. Hans Prinzhorn
      Pages 96-228
  5. Results and Problems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 229-229

About this book


No one is more conscious of the faults of this work than the author. Therefore some self -criticism should be woven into this foreward. There are two possible methodologically pure solutions to this book's theme: a de­ scriptive catalog of the pictures couched in the language of natural science and accom­ panied by a clinical and psychopathological description of the patients, or a completely metaphysically based investigation of the process of pictorial composition. According to the latter, these unusual works, explained psychologically, and the exceptional circum­ stances on which they are based would be integrated as a playful variation of human expression into a total picture of the ego under the concept of an inborn creative urge, behind which we would then only have to discover a universal need for expression as an instinctive foundation. In brief, such an investigation would remain in the realm of phenomenologically observed existential forms, completely independent of psychiatry and aesthetics. The compromise between these two pure solutions must necessarily be piecework and must constantly defend itself against the dangers of fragmentation. We are in danger of being satisfied with pure description, the novelistic expansion of details and questions of principle; pitfalls would be very easy to avoid if we had the use of a clearly outlined method. But the problems of a new, or at least never seriously worked, field defy the methodology of every established subject.


Bildende Kunst Psychiatrie aesthetics language methodology patients psychiatry

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1972
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-662-00918-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-662-00916-1
  • About this book