THE LAOCOON: SYSTEMIC CONCEPTS IN A WORK OF ART

Authors

  • Scott Johnson

    1. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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    • Scoot Johnson, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061.


  • The research for this paper was partially funded by a grant from the Graduate School of Virginia Tech, for whic I'm very grateful. My thanks to Drs. Joseph Maxwell and James Keller for helping secure these funds. Thanks also to Drs. Edith Cicerchia, Director of the Vatican Museums, and Paolo Liverani, Curator of Antiquities, for their generous assistance during my visit to the Vatican. I am grateful as well to Drs. J. J. Pollitt and Peter von Blanckenhagen for birth order, and to Dr. M. K. Lane, and the anonymous reviewers of an early version of this paper, for their thoughtful comments and suggestions.

Abstract

One of the most important ways of examining artistic works, and of explicating psychotherapeutic theories, has been the application of psychotherapy's ideas to works of art. In this paper I've explored the Roman sculpture, the Laocoon, from a systems point of view, discussing ways in which this work embodies family therapy concepts and how in turn those concepts help explain this masterpiece.

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