Magazine article The Spectator

The Stuff of Dreams

Magazine article The Spectator

The Stuff of Dreams

Article excerpt

The exhibition The Renaissance and Dream at the Musee du Luxembourg in Paris (until 26 January 2014) explores how artists have wrestled with the furthest limits of the imagination, in forms ranging from the muscular elegance of Michelangelo to the luminous naivety of Lorenzo Lotto.

In tackling a subject as inexhaustibly popular as dreams, the exhibition has avoided being either nebulous or anachronistic. Freudian psychoanalysis is mentioned only once in passing, and the paintings are allowed to speak for them selves.

What's more, these artists were not depicting their own dreams.

They were plundering from history, myth and religion in a quest for vision unimpeded by time, place or conventional imagery. The representation of dreams is claimed as a metaphor for art itself: a space of hermetic separation and unconscious creativity, perhaps even the product of divine inspiration. …

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