Portrait of a woman obsessed with a card game - Theodore Gericault. 77 x 65 cm
Shortly before his death, Gericault painted an amazing series of portraits dedicated to the insane. Portraits were supposed to demonstrate how much the face of a person changes under the influence of any mania. In total, 10 portraits were written, half of which, unfortunately, were lost. The paintings were not supposed to be put on public display, this partly explains the changes in Gericault's technique - a dynamic wide brushstroke, generalized background, sketchy-painted clothes. The artist focused entirely on the faces of the heroes.
Before us is a woman of advanced age who suffers from card addiction (how can one not recall the Queen of Spades here). The eyes, indeed, are the mirror of the soul, and emptiness, confusion, a subtle interrogation are read in them. She as if apologizes and asks something at the same time. On the heroine's head there is a white cap, which echoes in color terms with the collar of a white hospital gown. A dark brown coat is thrown over the woman’s dressing gown.
You immediately notice an unhealthy, yellow complexion, ugly wrinkles, red eyes, heavy reddish eyelids. Mental illness prematurely aged and disfigured the unfortunate. The color of the canvas focuses exclusively on dark tones - black, brown, and the author only highlights the face so that this contrast makes them more prominent and expressive.
We must pay tribute that Gericault does not dramatize the disease, does not add tragedy - he simply displays what he sees, carefully watches, analyzes and truthfully conveys the canvas.
There is high sadness, humanity, and compassion ... It is not surprising that, among the rich and rich heritage of Gericault, it is the modest portraits of the insane who are considered the pinnacle of the work of the first French romantic.