Starting from Freud’s reference in The Moses of Michelangelo (1913) to the art connoisseur Giovanni Morelli, it is argued that the birth of the clues method in psychoanalysis that Freud developed mainly in The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901) owes to the method that Morelli developed twenty years before the birth of psychoanalysis. It is argued that claiming that Morelli’s method was closely related to the technique of psychoanalysis, Freud didn’t mean to recognize its priority towards psychoanalysis, instead he wanted to include in the field of psychoanalysis also art criticism. Ginzburg’s argument that the clues method in psychoanalysis is related to the model of medical semeiotics is challenged. According to Anderson’s research, it is argued that Morelli’s method is instead related to Cuvier’s studies on comparative anatomy. It is also highlighted the autobiographical framework of The Moses of Michelangelo and shown an unnoticed Freud’s parapraxis about the drawings of Mose’s sculpture he commissioned to an artist. It is pointed out, then, the closeness between Morelli’s rhetoric style and Freud’s narrative style in the Psychopathology of Everyday Life, the book in which the impact of Freud’s fresh reading of Morelli’s work appears more obvious. Lastly, many inconsistencies of the first two chapters of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life are highlighted.
Keywords: Freud, Morelli, clues method, narrative style, Psychopathology of Everyday Life