The Rorschach test is an instrument every clinical psychologist and psychiatrist is called to reckon with, either in diagnosis or study. It is a structurally shapeless instrument that both fascinates and intrigues anyone who comes across that strange series of inkblots, halfway between contemporary art and scientific experiment. Hence, people’s curiosity about the meaning of these tables, about their history and especially the reasons that led its originator to give them their current structure. There is an equally important question about their epistemological status in the field of clinical psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis.
Life and studies
Hermann Rorschach was born in Zurich on November 8, 1884. His father was a painter and passed on to his son a passion for painting and art in general, interests that had a strong influence on the future development of the process. There is little information about his mother. Hermann’s adolescence was marked by the death of his mother when he was 12 and that of his father at 18. He was able to study thanks to bank subsidies in the city where his father had been known and respected.
A curious fact: in high school he was nicknamed Klex (inkblot), perhaps because of his ability to draw in ink. Later he attended courses in geology and botany at the Academy of Neuchâtel, and then enrolled in medical school in Zurich, graduating in 1911 in psychiatry with a thesis on reflex hallucinations. At the university he met his future wife, Olga Stempelin, a Russian, who was 6 years older; they married in 1910 and had two children, Elisabeth in 1917, and Wadin in 1919.