Journal of Romance Studies

Titian’s Marsyas as an image of the creative process

Journal of Romance Studies (2010), 10, (3), 27–37.

Abstract

This article analyses Titian’s canvas The Flaying of Marsyas as, ultimately, a representation of the artist’s own creative process. It links the torture inflicted on Marsyas by Apollo with ritual, liminality and eroticism, demonstrating how the logic of liminality and eroticism share features of the unconscious and the logic of affect. The Flaying of Marsyas can thus be read as a depiction of the ‘torture’ of the creative process in which the artist undergoes the affective experience involved in the creative act of bringing forth something previously unknown (‘unconscious’). In this process, s/he is both the subject who suffers and the object s/he suffers, at the same time as remaining the observer.

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Carvalho, Richard