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Pregled bibliografske jedinice broj: 656033

The aesthetics of suicide: from ancient to conceptual art

Mindoljević Drakulić, Aleksandra; Jakovljević, Miro
The aesthetics of suicide: from ancient to conceptual art // Depression, addiction and suicide
Opatija, Hrvatska, 2013. (predavanje, međunarodna recenzija, sažetak, znanstveni)

The aesthetics of suicide: from ancient to conceptual art

Mindoljević Drakulić, Aleksandra ; Jakovljević, Miro

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Sažeci sa skupova, sažetak, znanstveni

Depression, addiction and suicide / - , 2013

The 1st Croatian-Russian Congress of Spiritual Psychiatry

Mjesto i datum
Opatija, Hrvatska, 01.-03.03.2013

Vrsta sudjelovanja

Vrsta recenzije
Međunarodna recenzija

Ključne riječi
Suicide; history of art / samoubojstvo; povijest umjetnosti
(Suicide; history of art)

The visual representations of suicide, although not plentiful, date back to ancient mythology and history. One of the most frequently represented legends of that time is the painted and engraved story of the ancient Greek hero Ajax who fell on his sword. Voluntary death (mors voluntaria) was at that time described as a heroic, largely men’s choice, and the Ajax sword became a symbol of the defence of honour. Sometimes glorified and apotheosized, in antiquity suicide was, in accordance with humanist philosophy, tolerated and justified by a variety of motivations, mostly preservation of dignity or escape from pain and sorrow. Unlike the representations of suicide in ancient art without pejorative connotations, in the Early Middle Ages suicide was increasingly represented as a passive and bad death, accompanied by depressive themes. At that time the aesthetics of suicide was primarily associated with Christian iconography and seen as equivalent to demoniac and sinful murder. It was rarely represented as martyrdom and one of the best known paintings of suicide was Judas’ dishonourable death. Thus the artists of that time openly sided with philosophers/theologians in ostracising suicide as a social taboo. In the period of Renaissance and Enlightenment suicide is again seen as an act on mercy, but also one of insanity or, more precisely, of weeping and melancholy. Although still portrayed as a diabolical crime, it is no longer regarded in the binary terms of martyrdom (Jesus) and condemnation (Judas). The visual concept of suicide is becoming less and less moralising and more and more emotional, even with sexual undertones, especially expressed in the representations of Thanatos and Eros. In the late 19th and the early 20th century, encouraged by the development of photography and the media, as well as the social situation in the sign of FWW, the artists started to vividly depict bizarre cases of suicide, their various fascinating and shocking details, some entirely fictitious. These pioneering beginnings are reaffirmed in modern 20th-century art, especially in conceptual art and installation and performance art. Through guerrilla and revolution-like approach to death, often on the borderline between art and provocation, suicide is associated with the alienating urban social context, with the questions of human physicalness, and is characterised as a call for help.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja
Kliničke medicinske znanosti, Psihologija, Povijest umjetnosti


Učiteljski fakultet, Zagreb