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CHAPTER VIII THE MADONNA’S CONCEPTION THROUGH THE EAR A CONTRIBUTION TO THE RELATION BETWEEN AESTHETICS AND RELIGION+ Contents I Introduction . . 261 IU The Legend of the Virgin Mary's Conception taoagh the Ear 264 Ml Breath and Fertilisation . . . 260, I. Blowing Movement : ‘ . : © 275 2, Sound : : « 282 3. Invisibility and Fluidity. ‘Thought. Soul . . 290 4. Moisture. . : : . gL 5. Warmth. Speech. Tongue. Fire. . . . 304 6. Odour. . . . : . «312 7. Summary . . : . 317 IV The Dove and the Annunciation . . + 4aT V The Lar as the Receptive Organ . . . + 340 VI Conclusion . . : : . . + 456 i INTRODUCTION The object of the present essay is to illustrate, by the analysis of a single example, the following thesis: that the close relation of aesthetics to religion is due to the intimate connection between their respective roots, 4 Published in the Sabréuch der Prychoanalyse, 1914, Band VL 264 262 ESSAYS IN APPLIED PSYCHO-ANALYSIS The closeness of the relation, which is perhaps more striking with the higher religions, is shewn in manifold ways: sometimes by the diametrical opposition of the two, as in the iconoclastic outbursts of Savonarola or the English Puritans against art, but more frequently by the remarkable union between the two. The latter may be manifested both positively, as when art and religion are fused in worship (religious dancing, painting, music, singing, architecture; ‘The works of the Lord are lovely to behold’, ‘God is lovely in his holiness’, etc.), and negatively, as when religion condemns the same piece of conduct, now as sinful, now us ugly or disgusting. It is widely recognised that the ultimate sources ot artistic creativencss tie in that region of the mind outside consciousness, and it may be said with some accuracy that the deeper the artist reaches in his unconscious in the search for his inspiration the more profound is the resulting conception likely to be. It is also well known that among these ultimate sources the most important are psycho- sexual phantasies. Artistic creation serves for the expression of many emotions and ideas, love of power, sympathy at suffering, desire for ideal beauty, and so on, hnt—uoless the term be extended so as to include admiration for any form whatever of perfection—it is with the last of these, beauty, that aesthetics is principally concerncd; so much so that aesthetic feeling may well be defined as that which is evoked by the contemplation of beauty. Now, analysis of this aspiration reveals that the chief source of its stimuli is not so much a primary impulse as a reaction, a rebellion against the coarser and more repellent aspects of material existence, one which psychogenetically arises from the reaction of the young child against its original excremental interests. When we remember how extensively these repressed coprophilic tendencies contribute, in their THE MADONNA'S CONCEPTION 263 sublimated forms, to every variety of artistic activity-——to painting, sculpture, and architecture on the one hand, and to music and poetry on the other—it becomes evident that in the artist's striving for beauty the fundamental part played by these primitive infantile interests (including their later derivatives) is not to be ignored: the reaction against them lies behind the striving, and the sublimation of them behind the forms that the striving takes. When on the other hand religious activities, interests and rites, are traced to their unconscious source it is found that, although—as I] have pointed out in the case ot baptisin'—-they imuke extevsive use of the same psychical material as that indicated above, they differ from aesthetic interests especially in that the main motives are derived not so much from this sphere as from another group of infantile interests, that concerned with incestuous phantasies.? At first sight, thereforc, aesthetics and religion would appear to have on the whole disparate biological origins. Freud's’ researches have demonstrated, however—and this is mot the least far-reaching of their conclusions—that infantile coprophilia belongs essentially to the as yet un- coordinated infantile sexuality, constituting as it does a prominent part of the anto-erotic stage which precedes that of incestuous object-love. From this point of view we obtain a deeper insight into the present topic, and indeed a satisfactory explanation of the problem, for, since aesthetic and religious activities are derived from merely different components of a biologically unitary instinct, components which are inextricably intertwined at their very roots, it becomes throughout intelligible that even in their most developed forms they should stand in close relationship to each other. Sve uhapter FV, pp. 125, 162-5. 2 See Freud: Totem und Tabu, 1913. ® Froud: Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, 4¢ Aufl, 1920. 264 ESSAYS IN APPLIED PSYCHO-ANALYSIS I THE LEGEND OF THE MADONNA’S CONCEPTION THROUGH THE EAR A belief, often forgotten nowadays, but preserved in the legends and traditions of the Catholic Church, is that the conception of Jesus in the Virgin Mary was brought about by the introduction into her ear of the breath of the Holy Ghost. I do not know if this is now held as an official tenet of the Church, but in past ages it was not only depicted by numerous religious artists, but also maintaincd by many of the Fathers and by at least onc of the Popes, namely ielix. St. Augustine! writes: ‘Deus per angelum loquebatur et Virgo per aurem impraegnebatur’, St. Agobard* ‘Des- cendit de coelis missus ab arce patris, introivit per aurem Virginis in regionem nostram indutus stola purpurea et exivit per auream portam lux et Deus universae fabricac mundi’, and St. Ephrem of Syria’ ‘Per novam Mariae aurem intravit atque infusa est vita’; similar passages could be quoted from various other Vathers, such as St. Proclas, St. Ruffinus of Aquileia, ctc. In the Breviary of the Maronites one reads: ‘Verbum patris per aurem benedictae intravit’, and a hymn‘, ascribed by some to St. Thomas a Becket, by others to St. Bonaventure, contains the following verse: Gaude, Virgo, mater Christi, Quae per aurem concepisti, Gabriele nuntio. + St. Augustine: Sermo de Tempore, xxii. ? St Agobad: De Cuneutivue auliphusuil, Cap. viii, 3 St. Ephrem: De Divers Serm. I, Opp. Syr, Vol. Til, p. 607. * Bodley MS., Latin Liturgy, X. Fol. ot vo. THE MADONNA’'S CONCEPTION 265 Gaude, quia Deo plena Peperisti sine pena Cum pudoris lilio, There were many versions of this current in the middle ages; Langlois! quotes the following one from the seventeenth century: Rejouyssez-vous, Viérge, et Mére bienheureuse, Qui dans vos chastes flancs congeutes par louyr, L’Esprit-Sainct opérant @un trés-ardent désir, Est PAnge l’'annongant d'une voix amoureuse. The event was often portrayed by religious artists in the Middle Ages. For instance, in a painting of Filippo Lippi’s in the convent of San Marco in Florence, in one of Gaddi’s in the Santa Maria Novella, in one of Benozzo Gozzoli’s in the Campo Santa of Pisa, and in an old mosaic—no Jonger extant*—in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, the Holy Dove is seen almost entering the Virgin’s ear, In the first named of these the Dove emanates from the vight hand of the Father, in the second from his bosom; morc typically, howcver, as in the picture of Simone Martini's here reproduced,’ one which will presently be more fully discussed, the Dove emanates from the mouth of the Father. The Dove may either constitute a part of the Father’s breath—as it were a concrete condensation of this—or it may itself repeat the emission of breath: in the Florence Bargello there are three examples of this (by Verrocchio and the Della Robbias), and it may also be seen in a picture of the Ferrarese school in the Wailace Collection, London, as well as in Martini’s picture. * Lanyluis: Evsai ou ta Polutuis ou Vourc, 1832, ps 157. 2 Gori: Thesaurus, Tab. xxx, Vol, IIL 8 Sec Frontispiece. 266 ESSAYS IN APPLIED PSYCHO-ANALYSIS The connection between the fertilising breath of the Dove and the child to be conceived is made plainly evident in an old panel that used to stand if the Cathedral of Saint-Leu, of which Langlois gives the following description: ‘Du bec du St-Esprit jaillissait un rayon lumineux aboutissant a Yoreilic de Marie, dans laquelle desccndait s’introduire, dirigé par ce méme rayon, un trés-jeune enfant tenant une petite croix'.! A similar picture, by Meister des Marialebens, in which also the infant is seen descending along a ray of light may be seen in the Germanisches Museum in Naremberg. We note that here it is a ray of light that issues from the mouth of the Dove, instead of the more appropriate breath. ‘This equating of radiating breath and yays of light is an interesting matter to which we shall have to return later. It may have been partly determined by the greater technical facility with which rays of light can be represented by the painter, but it also has its theological aspects, for it is related to the doctrine of the monophysite Churches of Armenia and Syria (which split off from the Byzantine in the fifth century) that Jesus’s body, originating in an emission of light from heaven, was made of cthercal fire and had ncither bodily structure nor functions. Another example of this equation occurs in an old stained-glass window which was formerly in the sacristy of the Pistoia Cathedral,’ also representing rays issuing from the Dove’s mouth and bearing an embryo in the direction of the Virgin’s head; the picture is surmounted by the lines: Gaude Virgo Mater Christi Quae per Aurem concepisti. 1 Langlois: loc. cit. 2 Cicognara: Storia della Scultura, 1813-1818, Vol. J, p. 324.

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