Freud’s Italian Renaissance

An online course over two weeks with the Freud Museum's Research Manager, Tom DeRose

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15 May, 4:00 pm - 22 May, 6:00 pm


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Explore the roots and repurcussions of Freud’s fascination with the Italian Renaissance

This course is taking place online only. The course will take place on Wednesdays, 16:00 – 18:00 GMT. All registrants will receive a Zoom Link in their confirmation email from Eventbrite after booking. All registrants will also receive access to the recording after each course. This event is held as a Zoom Webinar and participants will not be visible.

Whilst Freud surrounded himself with antiquities from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, when it came to more recent examples of the visual arts, it was the Italian Renaissance that most captured his imagination. From his absorption in the Signorelli Frescos in Orvieto, which became the subject for the first chapter of The Psychology of Everyday Life, to the hours spent in contemplation of Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses in Rome, Freud was fascinated with the puzzles and enigmas that he saw in Renaissance art.

This course will examine Freud’s fascination for the Italian Renaissance, focussing primarily two key texts: Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood and ‘The Moses of Michelangelo’. We will contextualise Freud’s readings of Renaissance figures by exploring the sources he drew on, analyse his arguments with close readings of the texts, and discuss his findings in the light of thinkers such as Aby Warburg and Gilles Deleuze and artists such as Francis Bacon.


Week 1 (15/05/24) – Freud and Leonardo: Memories, Sexuality and Sublimation
Week 2 (22/05/24) – Freud and ‘The Moses of Michelangelo’: Figures, Conflicts and Ambivalence


The course will be delivered online by the Freud Museum’s Research Manager Tom DeRose and will focus on Freud’s two most significant engagements with Renaissance art, Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood, and ‘The Moses of Michelangelo’.

Readings will be circulated in advance of each session.


Freud Museum Members and Patrons receive 20% off the standard ticket price on all events, courses, conferences and On Demand programming.

Bursary – A limited number of £10 bursary places will be available for those under financial hardship. Priority will be given to UK unemployed and PIP/ESA claimants. To apply email [email protected].

The purpose of this course is to raise funds for the Freud Museum London, which receives no regular public income.


15 May, 4:00 pm
22 May, 6:00 pm
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