What is ‘catharsis’?

by paullikesart


Catharsis is a Greek word, which means ‘purification’ or ‘cleansing’. Aristoteles was the first person who used the word.  Catharsis in psychology can be explained as something that happens to a reciever of an artwork. Whether it is a play, a movie, a sculpture, a symphony, a collage or a painting, if one can relate to the artwork, and is opened up to it, they will be able to experience a catharsis. That is a feeling of relief, of emotions which were kept away. Emotions of grief, or anger. Those can be released with a catharsis. A catharsis can give  a feeling of relief, or enlightment.

Personally, I experience a little catharsis when I look at most artworks. I’ve only experienced bigger ones with music, my first Mondrian and a couple of movies.

Some examples:

My first Mondrian (at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam)

Arrival of the birds and Transformation – The Cinematic Orchestra

 The 9th symphony – Beethoven, Zubin Mehta, Toykyo Opera Singers, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Hisami Namikawa (Soprano), Mihoko Fujimura (Mezzo Soprano), Kei Fukui (Tenor) and Attila Jun (Bass)

V for Vendetta’s final sequence (2005)