Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy (c. 1822) by Theodore Gericault

Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy - Theodore Gericault - 1822

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy
ArtistTheodore Gericault
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions58 x 72 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, France

About Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy

The artwork entitled “Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy” was created by Theodore Gericault in 1822. It is executed in oil on canvas and is a representative work of the Realism art movement. Measuring 58 by 72 centimeters, the artwork is a portrait currently housed at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon in Lyon, France.

This compelling portrait depicts an elderly woman, capturing an expression that conveys a profound emotional state. Her face is the focal point, embodyed with intricate detail, particularly in the rendering of wrinkles and textures of her skin, which reflect her advanced age and emotional turmoil. Her attire includes a white head covering adorned with ruffles and black ribbons that frame her features, drawing the viewer’s attention to her visage.

The woman’s eyes, slightly asymmetrical, hold a gaze that seems to pierce the viewer, suggesting a depth of experience and perhaps the psychological distress indicated by the title of the work. Her mouth is closed, and her expression is one that could be read as one of contemplation or internal struggle. The use of lighting in the artwork accentuates the contours of her face and creates a stark contrast with the dark background, a technique that enhances the psychological intensity of the portrait. The choice of somber colors and a direct, unembellished portrayal aligns with the Realist movement’s emphasis on depicting subjects truthfully without idealization.

Overall, Gericault’s “Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy” is a poignant exploration of human emotion, translated onto the canvas with a realism that goes beyond mere physical likeness to touch upon the more enigmatic aspects of the human condition.

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