Framing the Narrative: Alchemical Psychology and Pictorial Devices in Une Semaine de Bonté by Max Ernst
Master of Arts in Art History (M.A.)
Type of Paper/Work
Craig Eliason, Ph.D. - Chair Amy Hamlin, Ph.D. Heather Shirey, Ph.D.
In his collage novel Une Semaine de Bonté from 1934, Max Ernst created a
visual narrative that was greatly influenced by the emerging field of psychoanalysis as
well as the philosophies and symbols of the alchemic tradition. In constructing the
images that convey the novel’s storyline, Ernst employed specific forms as a means of
propelling the reader forward. The most important instance of this technique occurs in
the chapter entitled, “Mardi,” where the artist included frames and other decorative
objects that contained visual content meant to enhance the overall meaning conveyed in the collage. Such devices not only serve as a catalyst for the chapter’s narrative, but also reflect Ernst’s fascination with psychoanalysis and alchemy through their use of archetypal forms and allusions to the microcosm-macrocosm relationship that was a core principle of alchemic practices. The purpose of this paper is to examine the
relationship between images within frames and their larger scenes featured in the
chapter, “Mardi” and to isolate the elements of alchemy and psychoanalysis that work in concert to produce the significance of its collages as it relates to narrative of the novel.
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Crandall, Sarah, "Framing the Narrative: Alchemical Psychology and Pictorial Devices in Une Semaine de Bonté by Max Ernst" (2016). Art History Master's Qualifying Papers. 13.