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Metamorphosis of Narcissus: When Salvador Dalí met Sigmund Freud

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The story of Narcissus, most famously told by Ovid, is a tragedy that has fascinated artists for over 2,000 years. Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí set about painting a canvas in homage to the myth in the Spring of 1937, and took the completed work with him to meet the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, in London in 1938. Dalì had long held Freud in great esteem, his canvases often swarming with references to the psychoanalyst's ideas, and so the meeting was the culmination of a deep ambition.

In taking his painting Metamorphosis of Narcissus with him to meet Freud, Dalí had hoped to engage the doctor in conversation about the myth and psychoanalytic concept of narcissism. But the meeting didn't go according to plan...

In this HENI Talk, hear renowned Surrealist scholar Dawn Adès recount the story of this historic meeting of minds, and discover some of the mind-boggling techniques Dalí employed in his masterwork.

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Art historian and curator Dawn Adès (b. 1943) is a leading voice on Dada, Surrealism, abstraction and art from Latin America.

Adès is Professor Emerita of the History and Theory of Art at the University of Essex, Professor of the History of Art at the Royal Academy, a former trustee of Tate (1995-2005) and of the National Gallery (2000-2005) and a Fellow of the British Academy. In 2013 she was appointed CBE for services to higher education.

The many exhibitions she has organized or co-curated, in the UK and abroad, include Dada and Surrealism Reviewed (1978); Art in Latin America: the Modern Era 1820-1980 (1989); Dalí's Optical Illusions (2000); Salvador Dalí: the Centenary Exhibition (2004); Undercover Surrealism: Georges Bataille and Documents (2006); Close-Up: Proximity and Defamiliarisation in Art, Photography and Film (2008); and Dalí/Duchamp, (Royal Academy and the Dalí Museum 2017-2018).

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