The Yard of a Madhouse (1794) by Francisco Goya

The Yard of a Madhouse - Francisco Goya - 1794

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Yard of a Madhouse
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions43.8 x 31.7 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Yard of a Madhouse

The artwork titled “The Yard of a Madhouse” was created by the renowned artist Francisco Goya in the year 1794. This creation employs oil on tin as its medium, representing the artist’s mastery during the Romanticism era. Measuring 43.8 by 31.7 centimeters, this genre painting is generally immersed in the depiction of scenes from everyday life. Currently, it is held in a private collection, not readily accessible to the public for viewing.

Goya’s artwork presents a grim scene set within the confines of an asylum courtyard. The composition is characterized by a strong sense of unrest and emotional intensity typical of Romanticism, with the palette mainly consisting of somber and muted tones that contribute to the artwork’s dreary atmosphere. Precarious shadows loom over the figures, creating an ominous presence that dominates the scene.

Within this courtyard, the inhabitants are depicted in a variety of poses and states of distress, indicative of their mental struggles. The figures are portrayed with a sense of individuality yet bound by their shared plight. Central to the scene is a group of figures, interacting in a manner that suggests a lack of rational control or reason. One individual stands out, gesticulating emphatically, drawing the viewer’s focus into the midst of the chaos.

Goya’s keen attention to the expressions and postures of the figures serves to amplify the underlying commentary on the human condition, and particularly, the treatment and perception of mental illness during his time. The artwork, thus, not only serves as a record of a social institution of the period but also as a mirror reflecting the complex relations and societal treatment of the mentally ill, which would have been a bold subject matter for Goya’s contemporaries to confront.

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