Insane Woman (La Monomane de l'envie)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Insane Woman[1] (1822) is an oil on canvas by Théodore Géricault. It is part of a series of portraits Géricault painted of the mentally ill. It is housed in the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, France.

Mental aberration and irrational states of mind could not fail to interest artists against Enlightenment rationality. 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.

Géricault's Insane Women her mouth tense, her eyes red rimmed with suffering-is one of several portraits he made of the insane that have a peculiar hypnotic power. These portraits present the physic facts with astonishing authenticity, especially in contrast to earlier idealized commissioned portraiture.

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