Alexander Nikolaevich Scriabin (1872–1915): Enlightenment or illness?

Eliezer Witztum, Vladimir Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The similarity between psychotic symptoms and aspects of mystical experiences is well known. It has long been recognized that there are similarities between mystical and spiritual and psychotic experiences. The content of an experience alone usually does not determine whether an individual is psychotic. The Russian composer Scriabin (1872–1915) was among the most famous artists of his time. Scriabin infused his music with mysticism, evolving a modernistic idiom through which he created a musical counterpart to the Symbolist literature of that period. In this paper, we discuss the question that arises from perusing Scriabin’s life is whether the composer was a mystic genius or whether he suffered from affective psychopathology with psychotic features.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Biography
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective disorders
  • Colour music
  • Creativity
  • Scriabin
  • Synaesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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