Richard Dudd: an ingenious artist who has lost his mind

Undoubtedly, Richard Dudd is one of the most outstanding personalities in the art world. His biography still causes a lot of controversy and discussion among critics of painting and admirers of fine art of masters of the past.

The story of a crazy artist

Everyone who is familiar with at least a small part of the works of this master, it is also known about how his life went Richard Dudd. The biography of this person introduces into a shock state and admires simultaneously, but, nevertheless, deserves attention. It is worth noting that the sphere of art, which will be discussed later, remained inaccessible for a long time to a wide audience. It was only at the end of the last century that the whole world learned about the history of the great artist, which made it possible to draw public attention to the problem of realizing creative potential by people whose mental health was shaken in the same way as it happened with Richard Dudd.

Today, with the leading specialized medical institutions of the appropriate profile, workshops are opened, where patients can freely draw, sculpt, cut wood. Actual are even auctions, during which art lovers are sold unique masterpieces of painting written by the hand of mentally unhealthy people.

Paintings of a mentally ill person

Commercial success, by the way, was waiting for the pictures created by Richard Dudd. "Crazy genius" - that's what contemporaries used to say about him. They also speak about him in our days. The most part of his life the master spent in the clinic for the mentally ill. In life, his talent could not be appreciated, the main obstacle was his illness. But after a few decades, the creative method of Richard Dudd found his fans. Pictures of this great artist are the object of lust for collectors and connoisseurs of painting, so today each of his works is truly fabulous money.

Many have heard of the word "bedlam," but no one thought about what the story is related to this name. In fact Bedlam was called Bethlehem Hospital for the mentally ill and mentally unbalanced people. This place is located opposite the legendary Tower of London. Since the XVIII century, all mentally unbalanced citizens were brought to this place, and at the beginning of the next century, in 1815, there was already a full-fledged medical hospital for people who needed a special psychological microclimate and a kind of treatment.

Bedlam in the life of Richard Dudd

Once in 1844, the ranks of insane patients were replenished by the legendary Richard Dudd. "Master swing of a fairy-tale lumberjack" (running a little ahead of time) - one of the most famous and popular of his works, appreciated by experts in the field of cultural studies, painting and art, was embodied in the canvas right here, in the clinic. In 1844, the artist was taken to a department where people who had committed criminal offenses were treated.

Richard Dudd got here after the arrest. Law enforcement officers detained him not far from the French capital at the time when the artist attacked one of the passengers of the stagecoach. During the interrogation, the criminal replied that he intended to visit Vienna and kill the emperor of Austria. He also confessed to the murder of his own father. It turns out that a year before the capture of a young 27-year-old man really killed his father in the forest. Recognizing every criminal step, Dudd created the impression of an unhealthy person. This was the main reason for the transfer from the police station to the shelter for the insane.

Of course, Richard Dudd in Bedlam was not the only mentally ill criminal. However, his fate is so unique that, having become acquainted with it, one can boldly challenge the established opinion about the impossibility of the existence of a genius and a villain in one person.

Childhood and the artist's youth

Born an artist in England in 1817, in the city of Chatham. Despite the fact that it was a small town, it was quite famous at that time in the territory of all modern Britain. In Chatham was part of the naval royal fleet. Dadd's parents had a modest pharmaceutical business - they owned a pharmacy in the central part of the city.

Education Richard received at a local school. Dudd celebrated his 20th anniversary already in London, since by that time his father had managed to open his own workshop there. While engaging in carving and gilding carved ornaments, the young man attended courses at the Academy of Arts at the royal court. This institution is still considered the most prestigious school of fine arts in Foggy Albion.

Fatal travel

After just a few years, Richard Dudde was talked about as a talented, developing creator. Sir Thomas Phillips invited him on an expedition to Egypt and the countries of the Middle East. It is believed that this trip played a fatal role in the life of the young man.
The journey was not easy. After a long exhausting road, his emotional state was so depressing that Dudd admitted to his friend in letters that he felt himself changing. Problems with sleep, overcrowded imagination caused Richard fear for his peace of mind.

Probably, the artist received indelible impressions while visiting "the city of the dead" in Egypt. Since then, he began to believe that the powerful Osiris began to rule over him. Because of autosuggestion Richard Daddy began to appear monsters and devils. He was overcome by terrible desires: for example, on his way home, having found himself in Italy, he confessed that he would like to kill the Pope of Rome.

Sunny stroke or schizophrenia?

Seriously, no one reacted to such statements of a talented young man, considering the first signs of madness as an unsuccessful stupid joke due to excessive fatigue. Moreover, upon arrival in London and when contacting specialists, they found nothing suspicious in the patient's behavior. The doctors diagnosed the "sunstroke".

Close and native artists, convinced that the young man became closed and partly eccentric, seriously worried. Richard Dudd (photo of the artist can not accurately convey the changes caused by his sick state of mind) stored in his room several hundred chicken eggs, and also constantly wore goat skin gloves. The first person who dispelled the myth of the reality of the previous diagnosis was psychiatrist Alexander Sutherland. He practically passed sentence on the young man's family: the talented young artist Richard Dudd is incapacitated, since he is not able to bear responsibility for his actions. The specialist's recommendation was the isolation of Richard from society and constant medical supervision.

Murder of the father and lifelong isolation

And it was not without reason: soon the irreparable really happened. Robert Dudd was killed by his own son. On a military holiday in Chatham the sick young man was in an agitated state and attacked his father. With a sailor's knife, he hit Robert Dudd in the chest, then cut his throat. The next day the body of the deceased was found, but the news of the capture of a madman and an outstanding artist flew around England only a year later.

The rest of his life, Richard Dudd spent in the clinic. Bedlam was the last point for him. Despite the fact that there he was completely divorced from the world and the public, the artist did not squander his talent. The disease did not affect the functioning of the part of the brain responsible for its creativity. Until the end of his life, the artist continued to create masterpieces one after another.

Recognition of the talent of a mad creator

Richard Dudd's creative method attracted attention almost a century after the death of an outstanding author. The first painting, bought for 500 thousand pounds sterling, "Dispute: Oberon and Titania", in 1984 opened interest to other works of the creator. A few years later, another masterpiece was sold with a hammer - "Artist's Stay in the Desert", for 100 thousand pounds. A confirmation of the popularity of the author from Bedlam is also the fact that many of his works are still stored in the largest world galleries.

"The swing of the fairy-tale woodcutter" Richard Dudd deserves special attention. The artist created a painting for 9 years in a psychiatric hospital. This legendary canvas is one of the many masterpieces that Richard Dudd created. "Master swing of a fairy-tale lumberjack" served as the basis for the creation of many other valuable works not only of pictorial art. For example:

  • In 1988, based on his motives, Oliver Knossen wrote a musical fantasy called "Blossom fireworks";
  • Terry Pratchett's novel "The Little Free People" mentions a picture;
  • One of the hits of rock band Queen carries the same name.

A few words about "The fairy tale woodcutter"

A brief description of this picture deserves attention. The vegetation is in the foreground. For flowers and herbs, the viewer can easily find out a whole world of non-existent fictional characters. In the story, all the fairy-tale characters are waiting for the moment when the woodcutter hits the hazelnut. The fruit serves as the center of the whole composition "Master's sweep of the fairy-tale woodcutter". Richard Dud seemed to have specially endowed him with magical power. It seems that as soon as the ax splits it, something important for the characters of the picture will certainly happen.

"The swing of the fairy-tale logger" Richard Dudd was originally the order of the chief administrator of the royal hospital. Henry Gayden has repeatedly admired the talent of a mentally ill artist. To this day, a grand canvas came through the work of the Tate Gallery. The English poet Zygmund Sassoon presented the work in memory of his friend (by the way, great-grandson of Richard Dadd) Juliane Dudde.

How Dudd spent his years in the hospital: notes of doctors

The biggest mystery for researchers today is that the master was able to create in such terrible conditions. And if you consider that Bedlam, in comparison with similar medical institutions, was considered by the standards of that time to be the most humane, it is difficult to imagine how mentally ill people spent their days in other places. The chambers in which the so-called insane criminals were settled (to which Daddah was included), according to eyewitnesses, resembled more cells for the most dangerous predators.

The availability of information about how the artist spent more than 40 years in Bedlam is the merit of Charles Hood. This man since 1852 served as chief physician in the clinic. With his arrival, much in the functioning of the medical institution has changed dramatically. In particular, with his appearance, the beginning of the history of the disease is connected. For each clinical case, the medical staff began to be treated much more closely. Little is known about Richard Dadd, but, according to Charles Hood, he was one of the most dangerous and aggressive patients. Meanwhile, the doctor noted that it was more pleasant and interesting than the person he had never met in his entire life. Do not notice during the conversation his brilliant mental abilities, sophistication in the nuances of his beloved business was simply impossible.

The artist was not the only son of Robert Dudd. It's interesting that Richard's younger brother also found himself in Bedlam some time after his father died. It was assumed that both brothers suffered from an ailment acquired by heredity. Emotional-mental disabilities of Richard and George's health for a long time did not manifest themselves, flowing in latent form, but under the influence of certain factors, the mechanism of mental disorder was launched.

Moving to Broadmoor and the last years of life

In 1864, after 20 years in Bedlam, Daddah was transported to Broadmoor. The modern hospital, built there the day before, seemed to doctors a more suitable place for a talented artist to stay. He had many advantages in comparison with Bedlam. The move here had a positive effect on the emotional state of Richard Dudd, although there have been no significant changes.

The work of Richard Dudd, who lived almost 70 years and died of tuberculosis in 1886, is still striking today. Psychiatrists and psychologists tried to find in his canvases any details that indicate his mental distress. By the way, "Exodus from Egypt", "Mad Jane", "Passion" contain many different details that allowed specialists to partially unravel the secrets of the mental ill health of a genius.

Modern doctors do not doubt that the pain of the artist would not have been a verdict today. A qualified correction of the patient's mental state would give him a chance to cancel the isolation. In a normal, unlimited life, it is likely that recovery would be much faster. At the same time, to guarantee that the course of the strongest psychotropic medicines would not affect his creative activity, no one can. The master's talent was preserved in its original form largely due to safe and ineffective therapy of that time.

The medical information about Richard Dudde contains information confirming the artist's final loss of reason in 1869. At the same time, he continued drawing until his death. The last works of the author date back to 1883. A few years before his death, it was especially difficult for a genius artist. Being all forgotten and abandoned, he exhaused physically, suffered from a violent cough with blood. In 1886, Richard Dudd died, whose painting, even today, captures and makes you admire.

The case of Richard Dudd as proof of the effectiveness of the technique of "active imagination"

Art has acquired considerable importance in the treatment of mentally ill people. In the middle of the last century, Carl Jung proved the effectiveness of the "active imagination" method. The developer based his evidence on the effectiveness of stimulating the internal abilities to create symbolic spontaneous works. To achieve the resolution of the mental conflict in each individual case is possible only by the unconscious way, concretizing what is desired by words, music, drawings.

Unfortunately, in the XIX century, the method of "active imagination" was not yet known. At the moment this component of psychotherapy is used actively in many medical institutions of European countries, including. Italy, England, France, etc. The results demonstrated by Carl Jung's technique do not cease to surprise even today: patients, listening to music or painting with colors, calmed down several times faster than taking chemical preparations.

This way of relaxation helps to get rid of irritation and discontent, calm down and tune in to an inner soul. Perhaps this is what Richard Dadd, the genius artist, lacked, whose powerful creative charge can not but delight.

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