Paintings

Description of the painting by Theodore Gericault “Portrait of a Madwoman” (Insane)


For many centuries, the topic of mental deprivation has attracted many artists. The canvas, depicting a crazy woman, was painted by Theodore Gericault in 1822. Filled with a presentiment of his imminent demise, Gericault embodies his experiences on this canvas.

A severe mental illness or loss of mind for a person is like death, in the spiritual sense. The painting depicts a woman who has long comprehended this destiny. Her thoughts are in the lands far from the earth, unknown to a healthy person. Her mind no longer perceives the line between reality and illusion.

The appearance of a woman reminds the viewer of her ailment. Hospital clothing testifies to the fact that the heroine is in a closed institution for crazy people. Strands of gray-haired hair are knocked out from under the white cap, the face is outlined with deep lines of wrinkles. The skin, with a tinge of unhealthy yellowness, fits its outlined cheekbones and high forehead. The patient's gaze is devoid of expression and life, although slightly swollen eyes shine feverishly. On her lips you can see a semblance of a smile. Perhaps now an unhealthy mind is playing evil games with her.

Previously, Theodore Gericault created paintings in a romantic style, but what prompted him to create paintings of this type? In the image of an unhappy crazy woman, he put his own fear of loss of mind. This explains his feeling of compassion for the heroine, for her rebellious restless mental state, and Jericho’s desire to convey to the viewer a subtle line separating a healthy person from a mentally ill person.

At the request of his friend, a doctor at a psychological clinic, Gericault created a series of portraits of crazy people. The main idea of ​​these paintings was to express not the external manifestations of progressive mental illnesses, but the internal experiences of sick people.





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