Freud, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Vulture's Tail: A Refreshing Look at Leonardo's Sexuality

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n this astute resurrection of both Freud and da Vinci, Andersen revisits Leonardo da Vinci, A Memory of His Childhood, Freuds 1910 analysis of da Vinci, and the first excursion of psychoanalysis into the realm of biography.Seamlessly fusing psychoanalysis with fifteenth-century Florentine history, Andersen brings to light information that Freud could not have known about Leonardos illegitimate birth and the circumstances of his infancy and youth in Florence. He explodes one myth after another, taking particular issue with tenacious beliefs about Leonardos sexuality, his vegetarianism, and tenderness toward animals. After laying parallel Leonardos chronicled recollection the vultures tale and a dream by Freuds most famous patient, the Wolf Man, Andersen offers an entirely new interpretation of Leonardos sexuality. In so doing, he exposes the self-interest evident in Freuds analysis of both the Wolf Man and Leonardo da Vinci.Wayne Andersen is an infectious writer and an infectious thinker. This has all the ingredients that make for an excellent read, where one learns as much about Freud as about Leonardo, and about Andersen himself in the bargain.James Beck, Professor of Art History, Columbia UniversityA challenging book. One of its great virtues is that it brings forward such a wealth of material that one cannot escape from the Freudian web of art and sexuality...a book with so many different corners and angles that one is called upon to rethink the details. Paul Barolsky, Professor of Art History, University of Virginia

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What Leonardo Actually Said
Freud Under Attack
The Spatial Orientation of Sexuality

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About the author (2001)

Wayne Andersen is Professor Emeritus, History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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