The Myth of Narcissus in Surrealist and Contemporary Art
Distributed for Reaktion Books
The story of Narcissus, as told by Ovid in The Metamorphoses, is of a beautiful youth who is so infatuated by his own reflection in a stream that he pines away for himself and is transformed into a flower of the same name. Since the classical era, the myth has been open to rich and varied interpretation by numerous artists. Narcissus Reflected explores the myth of Narcissus and its influence in Surrealist and contemporary art, including painting, photography, installation, film, and video.
At the center of the book is Salvador Dalí’s work from 1937 entitled The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Narcissus Reflected reproduces the manuscript of Dalí’s poem of the same name alongside the preparatory drawings he made that show the evolution of the final painting. As David Lomas shows through many exemplary and colorful illustrations, in Surrealism, the appearance of the Narcissus myth reflects a general artistic preoccupation with the idea of myth as a well as an interest in Freudian psychoanalysis, in which the concept of narcissism plays a influential role.
Featuring works by André Masson, Jean Cocteau, Claude Cahun, Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, Pipilotti Rist, and many other twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists, Narcissus Reflected considers the many meanings and interpretations of the myth and explains the enduring appeal of the Narcissus theme in art.
Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book III: The Story of Echo and Narcissus
Chapter 1: Metaphorphoses of Narcissus
Chapter 2: Myth and Masquerade
Chapter 3: Homoeros Unprofaned
Chapter 4: Narcissus Garden
Chapter 5: The Pool of Narcissus
A Note on Salvador Dalí's poem, Metamorphosis of Narcissus
Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus
List of Works