In Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood, Freud outlined a profile of the personality of Leonardo starting from a fantasy of his past, a memory in which he found “the synthesis” of his entire life. In the last part of “Cézanne’s Doubt”, Merleau-Ponty takes up this same Freudian analysis in order to bring to light, rather than a challenge or a criticism, an eccentric vector: if the fantasy of the vulture – as defined by Merleau-Ponty – can represent the monogram of the life and the past of Leonardo, it is precisely insofar as it manifests “creative revival”. From this idea of a continuous exchange between present and past, in which the very possibility of a creative future arises, it is possible to conceive of a different reading of the psychoanalytic concept of fantasy. The latter makes up part of those imaginary realities that Merleau-Ponty, in the last phase of his thought, will describe as inherent in the very structure of the real, and which testify, at the same time, to an essential moment of the process of subjectivation. Through Merleau-Ponty’s reading, the notion of fantasy seems to evade any deterministic derivation, instead configuring itself as the effect of a resonance in which “fidelity to childhood” and “creative revival” converge without contradiction.

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