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Crazy old woman

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1823, 72×58 cm • Oil, Canvas

Description of the artwork «Crazy old woman»

A series of short portraits of the mentally ill, which today is considered a true pinnacle of French painting of the XIX century, brought Theodore Gericault lifetime of fame he wrote his "Crazy" in the last, the 32nd year of his short and chaotic life, overcoming depression, despair and extreme pain after multiple surgeries on the injured fall from horse spine.

Should be, but so can be the artist of the romantic movement: a hot, impulsive, and prone to alternating periods of joyful lift with months of blackest melancholy. In any case, Theodore Gericault, whose oeuvre in the French and European painting starts romanticism that was exactly. He had a stormy affair with the wife of his uncle, Alexandrin Caruel. From this relationship a son. The scandal will be public and loud. Child will give to charity house, his mother will forever leave Paris, géricault and I'll shave my head bald and almost a year locked in his Studio. It will run over a Grand "The collapse of the raft of the Medusa leaving the side of the shop, only to seek nature in the hospitals and morgues. When in 1819 the painting will be presented at the show, but will not find understanding and approval, géricault would be very bad. One day, when his mental state will begin to seem threatening, will lead the artist is extremely gifted psychiatrist and Director of the French hospital Salpetriere Etienne-Jean georget.

Jorge has specialized in monomaniac – he has identified and described a few: theomania (religious obsession), erotomania, demonomania... it is believed that he gave géricault a picturesque idea of the types from his psychiatric practice who wanted to use as visual AIDS for student learning. To portray different types of human obsessions – what could be more tempting for an artist? It is likely that the enthusiasm for this work helped géricault at least partly to cope with their own mental illness.

All portraits depicting different types of insanity, was 10, then they were sold to museums and private collections, and currently are known only 5. Scholar by Valery Prokofiev lists: "In the Lyon Museum is the so-called "Hyena Salpetriere" – picture of mad old woman, suffering from delusions of jealousy. In The Louvre – a portrait suffering from compulsive gambling addiction. In Hanscom Museum "Kleptomaniac" the Museum in Springfield (USA) – "Thief children" and, finally, the O. Reinhardt collection in Winterthur is perhaps the most tragic of them "Insane, imagining himself as a commander".

...Bloodshot eyes with propusimos vessels beveled off to the side. Mental patient avoids eye contact. Her jaw and brow tense. A special role in revealing the deplorable fate of the heroine plays a clothing. Look at the ruffles of her bonnet: their color dramatically sets off the unhealthy yellowness of the skin of an old woman, but it's not quite the flavor. Such frills were always thoroughly brahmarishi and because of this kept the form. And here frill sagged lifelessly, as their mistress long ago had nothing to do with decorum. Shreds of gray hair running out from under the bonnet, and the ribbons remain untied, hanging along the cheeks. From under the dress visible bottom shirt. All these sloppy details you need géricault, to show how off his heroine from the world of rules and decorum and immersed in their condition. This woman was a real type – patient hospital Salpetriere, which is not tolerated, if someone close to expressing joy. Then she felt the pangs of envy and anger that inevitably ended in a convulsive seizure. The Chinese name is envy "red-eye disease". Hardly knew géricault, but to portray this and other details of the appearance of the mentally ill succeeded, with alarming insight.

Genuine romantic at the end of the road always becomes a realist – that's what happened with géricault, when in the last year, short and bright life, he wrote his "Crazy."

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Portrait
Style of art and technique: Realism, Romanticism, Oil

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