Interpretation of Dreams -or- In the Blink of an Eye: Part 3
School of Scholars -or- Venus and Visual Erotic Pleasure in Dreams
In the interpretation "In the Blink of an Eye: Part 2" the painting "School of Scholars" by Paul Delvaux features a nude patient who reports a dream to a clothed "voyeuristic" male psychoanalyst on the right.
The psychoanalyst is evidently using his hands in an attempt to haptically communicate his "psychoanalytic" grasp of the dream. The laboratory scientist on the left in the painting, is evidently is trying to explain the dream by putting the brain under the microscope.
Following Darwin's lead, Freud "Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality" argued that; "Seeing (is) an activity that is ultimately derived from touching. Visual impressions remain the most frequent pathway along which libidinal excitation is aroused; indeed natural selection counts on the accessibility of this pathway...when it encourages the development of beauty in the sexual object."
All the characters in the picture are using, or being expressive with their hands. The nude woman is holding her own hand, suggestive of the sensual idea of "touching oneself", which can be seen as a euphemism for masturbation. Delvaux's visual images of the clothed characters whose scholarly methods to shed light on the Venus, by groping, holding, and attempting to grasp the poetic and artistic archetypal depths of her nudity, her autoerotic body, her brain, her erotic imagination, her erotic dreams and her mortality.
Delvaux created numerous Venus and nude paintings which followed in the artistic footsteps of the masters and such works as; "The Sleeping Venus" and "Venus with a Mirror". Is the dream in the "School of Scholars" painting, seen through the characters "dialogical dialectic" and visual male ideological lens of psychoanalysis? Or, is it erotic dialogical reality seen through the cultural dream paradigm?
Said again differently, is the scientific and psychoanalytic gaze contemplating Western erotic literature, as seen through the light of dreams? The psychoanalytic anteroom in the painting, provides a cultural entrance, a doorway a window to men and women's phantasmagoria of visual erotic thinking and fantasies about the modern mythological "Venus". In the artistic history of the archetypal Venus, nudity is her natural archetypal state, which is an "overdetermined" in the visual enigmatic manifold of meanings of "Eros".
Entering the "Clothed male, naked female" erotic personae landscape of Western visual culture was given voice by Laura Mulvey who exposed the ideology of male gaze of the Hollywood dream factory. Read the interpretation "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema".
The International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) is dedicated in making the everyday psychodynamics of visual culture and dream vision in the global village transparent for all to see. Many of the IIDR interpretations shed light on the Western marketplace of ideas and the Western lover's discourse and "sexual personae" found circulating in erotic art, literature, film, music and in our dreams. Here are some of those interpretations;