Museums and Art

“Portrait of a madman, suffering from the delusion of a commander”, Theodore Gericault - description

“Portrait of a madman, suffering from the delusion of a commander”, Theodore Gericault - description

Portrait of the insane, suffering from mania commander - Theodore Gericault. 65 x 86 cm

The most famous portraits in the works of Gericault are 10 works dedicated to the insane. With his goal, Gericault, together with a customer, a psychiatrist doctor Jorge, saw in a detailed display of changes in a person’s face under the influence of any of the mania.

Only 5 portraits have survived to our times, and on one of them the painter depicted a middle-aged man who imagines himself a great commander. An interesting fact is that the time of writing the painting coincides with the death of Napoleon on the remote island of St. Helena. Is it a coincidence ...

The viewer sees a man whose image and face are in apparent discord. He has a straight back, proud posture. The hero is dressed in a white shirt, over which a piece of fabric is thrown (cloak, mantle?), And an impressive medallion adorns the chest. However, the patient's face expresses alienation: he is far away in his thoughts, where he leads a brave army with a bold hand. We see in front of us an elderly man with a yellowish face, a sloppy stubble, on whose head a ridiculous cap with an inappropriate brush. The main role here, undoubtedly, is played by the eyes: empty and at the same time occupied with some strange fantasy. The hero does not look at the viewer - the life surrounding him is indifferent.

The author eliminates the importance of the background - Gericault plunges his heroes into black scenery, against which their faces with signs of mental illness seem even more expressive. The painter only highlights the face and the snow-white shirt.

It is worth noting the humanism of Gericault in relation to the hero. In addition to curiosity, compassion and, most importantly, respect are clearly read here. The master recognizes in him an ordinary person who had to face a disaster. On the other hand, the artist does not dramatize the plot - there are no moans and a call to pity. Gericault distancedly and honestly writes what he sees, and in this honesty the highest manifestation of humanity is read.

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