Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eros and Thanatos

In 1951, photographer Philippe Halsman posed 7 models to form a human skull for his 
portrait of artist Salvador Dali. The title, In Voluptas Mors, roughly translates
to the voluptuous death. In Greek mythology, Voluptas was the goddess
of pleasure.

It took hours for Halsman to arrange the models
as Dali had envisioned in his drawing. Hours of direction,
contortion and prodding seems to have eliminated any
eroticism. In the behind-the-scene photos, the models look exhausted and bored.

Freud theorized that two instincts motivate people: Eros- sexuality and the drive for life, and Thanatos-aggression and the will for destruction.  The conflict of both impulses (pleasure/death) appears in nearly every episode of this season's Mad Men.


JoeyScruggs said...

I loved this information! I am a bif DALI Fan, and loved finding out 'the behind the scenes info' for this photo, which is one of my favorites.

Susan said...

Thanks! You may be interested to read a bit about the photographer Philippe Halsman: