Portrait of a Mad Woman, Theodore Gericault, 1822

Description of the picture:

Portrait of the Mad – Theodore Gericault. 1822. Oil on canvas. 77×65 cm

   Madness interested many painters. The picture belongs to the late period of the artist. The foreboding of imminent death burdened him. The portrait of a crazy lady is the result of this apprehension.

   In its essence, mental illness is the spiritual destruction of man. In front of the viewer is an ancient lady who has long since lost her ability to really accept the world around us. Illusions are her reality. Hospital outfit, yellow, deathly skin tighten elongated skull. A feverish blush underlines the madness in the heroine’s extinct, phlegmatic eyes. Sponges are stretched into a half smile. All together – the image of the ill-fated, lost her mind.

   What did entice a romantic artist in the form of an unfortunate resident of a clinic for crazy people? Certainly, this is the horror of insanity, the horror of the unknown and unexplained. The creator with undisguised compassion refers to his own heroine, mesmerized by her modified state, he allows the viewer to think about the fragile line that separates any person from madness.

   Researchers believe that the picture can be considered part of a larger plan of the artist, which he never managed to bring to life. Maybe the master’s enthusiasm for the inhabitants of a crazy house is the result of a study of British painting, in which such stories were common."