The Madhouse (1812 – 1814) by Francisco Goya

The Madhouse - Francisco Goya - 1812 - 1814

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Madhouse
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1812 - 1814
Mediumoil,canvas
Dimensions45 x 72 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain
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About The Madhouse

“The Madhouse,” an artwork by Francisco Goya created between 1812 and 1814, is an oil on canvas painting that subscribes to the Romanticism movement. It measures 45 by 72 centimeters and falls under the genre painting category. This piece of art is part of the collection at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain.

The artwork presents a bleak and haunting scene set within the confines of a madhouse. The setting is dimly lit by natural light filtering through a high window, casting shadows that contribute to the somber atmosphere. Individuals in varying states of distress and undress populate the space, with some figures restrained by chains. One figure stands out near the center, possibly restrained on an apparatus, with arms reaching outward, an embodiment of desperation or madness. Another figure, standing and facing the viewer, seems to be enacting a fantastical role, wearing an improvised crown. The disarray and chaotic postures of the figures suggest a lack of control and rampant suffering, typical of the condition of psychiatric institutions of the era. The atmosphere rendered by Goya is palpable, with the heavy use of shadow and undefined forms creating a sense of hopelessness and desolation that is characteristic of his darker works. Through his dramatic and emotionally charged representation, Goya comments on the human condition and societal treatment of the mentally ill, embodying the Romantic era’s fascination with the darker aspects of the human psyche.

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