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Notebook

June 2014

Beauty out of madness

by Theodore Dalrymple

Looking at the Prinzhorn Collection, a collection of artwork by psychotic patients.


“The Electric Pencil” drawing by James Edward Deeds

Whenever I am in Heidelberg, which is not often, the Prinzhorn Collection is my first port of call. The Prinzhorn Collection is the world’s first, largest, and best collection of art by psychotic patients, founded by the psychiatrist Dr. Hans Prinzhorn. To Prinzhorn belongs the honor, to my mind a considerable one, of having recognized artistic merit in the productions of psychotic persons and not merely pathological manifestations of grossly disordered psyches. It bespeaks a laudable openness and largeness of spirit in him as well as an admirably independent aesthetic judgment. These do not always go together. The sensitive book he published in 1922 ...

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Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 32 June 2014, on page 86

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

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The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
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