Sigmund Freud T-shirt

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Leonardo Da Vinci by Sigmund Freud
Hyperallergic's Art Library Series

American Apparel Size Charts: Men/Unisex / Women

Designed by Peter Rentz

Sigmund Freud‘s Leonardo da Vinci originally appeared in German, of course, but A.A. Brill’s English translation appeared soon after in 1915.

Described by great art historian Meyer Shapiro as “the prime example of divination of an artist’s personality through psychoanalytic concepts,” the essay probes Leonardo for signs of his homosexuality and interprets Leonardo’s dreams and symbols to weave together his “psychosexual study” (love that term) that predates Surrealism and their obsessions with the same material.

Ok, we all know this work by Freud is flawed but it’s still a beautiful work of creative non-fiction (fiction?). What did Freud get wrong? A lot of things, but this is the most notable:

Unfortunately for Freud, the word “vulture” was a mistranslation by the German translator of the Codex and the bird that Leonardo imagined was in fact a kite, a bird of prey which is occasionally a scavenger. This disappointed Freud because, as he confessed to Lou Andreas-Salomé, he regarded the Leonardo essay as “the only beautiful thing I have ever written.”