Τετάρτη, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Madness in art

William Dickinson (Print made by),
Robert Edge Pine (After) (1775)
A female figure representing madness, with straw and a scarf in tangled hair, a rope holding a pelt around her leaving the breast bare, clutching at the chains which hold her with her right arm, twisting to the left and staring wildly towards the upper left.


Charles Bell "Madness"
The anatomy and philosophy of
expression as connected
with the fine arts (1806)


Ambroise Tardieu
Des Maladies Mentales (1838)


"Attaque Demoniaque" (1881)
by Paul Marie Louis Pierre Richer



Dr. Desiré Magloire Bourneville (1875)
The first stage of demoniacal possession:
contortion followed by insensibility.


Francisco Goya
Yard with Lunatics (1794)
This painting is his record of conditions in an institution at Zaragoza.Goya wrote that the painting shows "a yard with lunatics, and two of them fighting completely naked while their warder beats them, and others in sacks. It has been described as a "somber vision of human bodies without human reason" and as one of Goya's "deeply disturbing visions of sadism and suffering." The painting had been absent from public view since a private sale in 1922. The work was painted at a time when such institutions were, according to art critic Robert Hughes, no more than "holes in the social surface, small dumps into which the psychotic could be thrown without the smallest attempt to discover, classify, or treat the nature of their illness."To art historian Arthur Danto, Yard with Lunatics marks a point in Goya's career where he moves from "a world in which there are no shadows to one in which there is no light"


William Hogarth
The Interior of Bedlam (1763)
The Bethlem Royal Hospital of London although no longer in its original location and buildings, it is recognised as the world's first and oldest institution to specialise in the mentally ill. It has been variously known as St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Hospital, Bethlehem Hospital and Bedlam. It admitted mentally deranged people from 1357, but it became a dedicated psychiatric hospital quite later. The word bedlam, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from its name. For much of its history it was notorious for cruelty and inhumane treatment – the epitome of what the term "madhouse" connotes to the modern reader.


Delacrois "A Mad Woman" (1822)


Picasso "Mad woman with cat" (1901)


Chaim Soutine "mad woman" (1920)


Chaim Soutine "mad woman" (1919)


Mental aberration and irrational states of mind could not fail to interest artists against Enlightenment rationality. Théodore Géricault, like many of his contemporaries, examined the influence of mental states on the human face and believed, as others did that a face more accurately revealed character, especially in madness and at the moment of death. He made many studies of the inmates in hospitals and institutions for the criminally insane, and he studied the heads of guillotine victims. He was among the first to depict an abnormal mental state as an illness, rather than as a subject for laughter. Some of his painting on madness we can see below:

Cleptomaniac or Mad Assasin (1822)


Woman alienated by envy monomania
(1820-1824)


Monomaniac of Military Commander
(1819-1822)


Compulsive Gambler (1820)








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