334 Am J Psychiatry 165:3, March 2008 Images in Psychiatry ajp.psychiatryonline.org Alzheimer’s Madonna A lzheimer’s disease is hard to talk and think about and even harder to accept. It pitilessly cuts the afflicted off from the self and points out to all of us how fragile the mind is. Like a mythical land, it lies beyond the sun, far from the hum of life. It calls to mind the river Lethe, the river of forgetfulness of Greek and Roman myth, from which mortals must drink before embarking on the journey to the underworld. As medicine does work on the body, so art does work on the soul. It does this by binding, in the work of art, psychic energies and storing them. These energies are the emotions, ideas, and ex-periences felt by the artist that made the work, which are trans-formed into a spatial or temporal structure. These energies can be released and used by whoever experiences them, for his or her own psychic work. Throughout history, people have made art. It is one of the
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