Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2018 Vol 11 Issue 59

Ermolaeva M.V., Lubovskii D.V. Eudemonistic approach to the catharsis of tragic in painting

Full text in Russian: Ермолаева М.В., Лубовский Д.В. Эвдемонистический подход к катарсису трагического в живописи

Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia
FGBNU "Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Education", Moscow, Russia, Moscow, Russiaa

About authors
Suggested citation

The phenomenon of catharsis that occurs in perception of the tragic in art, is analyzed. Based on the eudemonistic understanding of catharsis and tracing the cultural and historical aspects of the problem, the authors show that catharsis as an aesthetic and psychological phenomenon arose in antiquity for facilitation the acceptance of the need for the death of the Self for revival in a new life, and only later was interpreted by Aristotle as a spiritual purification. The analysis of modern interpretations of catharsis shows that their basis is the eudemonistic approach. Taking as a basis the cultural and historical approach in the psychology of art, the authors on the example of expressionistic painting and its early origins (M.Grunewald, E.Munch, E.Schiele, P.Picasso) analyze in detail the catharsis arising in the perception of tragic artworks. It is shown that the eudemonistic approach to the essence of catharsis allows for the reflection of those complex feelings that cause paintings depicting fear of despair and hopelessness. The perception of tragedy in the work of painting raises the question "In the name of what?" The psychological functions of the tragic catharsis for the viewer are acceptance of the inevitable, acceptance of personal responsibility for the evil created in the world, search for meaning, struggle with despair, resistance to chaos, evil and destruction. The authors show that the tragic in art, including painting, creates an aesthetic space that penetrates into the living space of the viewer and creates the possibility of expanding the semantic horizon and spiritual renewal. In the aesthetic space of the tragic painting, the particular circumstances of human life are amplified, acquiring a universal meaning and value dimension.

Keywords: catharsis, eudemonistic interpretation of the tragic in art, expressionism, involvement in artistic space, the search for meaning



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Received 24 April 2018. Date of publication: 28 June 2018.

About authors

Ermolaeva Marina V. Ph.D., Professor, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, ul. Sretenka, 29, 127051 Moscow, Russia.
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Lubovskii Dmitry V. Ph.D., Leading Research Associate, Laboratory of children's practical psychology scientific foundations, FGBNU "Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Education", Moscow, Russia, ul. Mokhovaya, 9–4, 125009 Moscow, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Ermolaeva M.V., Lubovskii D.V. Eudemonistic approach to the catharsis of tragic in painting. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2018, Vol. 11, No. 59, p. 5. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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