Because of what a brilliant Victorian artist Richard Dudd dealt with his father and got into the "yellow house"
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Because of what a brilliant Victorian artist Richard Dudd dealt with his father and got into the “yellow house”

This artist, and even more so the ancestor of the new style in art, is supposed to be a little crazy. Sometimes the outrage makes the master a real legend. However, history knows examples when the great masters of painting and graphics in the most literal sense of the word went crazy – even getting into institutions for the mentally ill, where their talent received a completely amazing embodiment.

Talented artist and founder of the new style

Richard Dudd was born in Chatham, Kent, in the family of a cabinetmaker and artist. The father noticed early the abilities of his son and in every possible way promoted their development. In 1837, twenty Richard was admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts.

In 1841, Dadd painted Sleeping Titania, a picture with which the emergence of a new artistic genre – Victorian fairy-tale painting – is connected. This direction was developed by a group of artists who called themselves “The Click”. It included, in addition to Dadd, Augustus Egg, Alfred Elmore, W.P. Frayt and others. Interestingly, the “Cliques” movement was aimed at scrapping “the retrograde traditions of the Academy of Arts that do not correspond to the traditions of modern art,” and Dadd’s views are similar to the theses of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions later in Russia. The Clique developed the ideas of Gothic Romanticism, Gothic, basing its art on the folklore and works of new writers, including Lewis Carroll, whose books about Alice were very popular with readers at that time.

Later, Victorian fairy-tale painting will reliably strengthen the position, becoming a style for decoration of illustrations for books.

Madness, father murder and imprisonment in Bedlam

The Sleeping Titania, exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, attracted the attention of many visitors, and with them Lord Thomas Phillips, who provided financial support to Richard Daddou for his journey to the Middle East and Egypt.
In 1842, a young artist went on this trip, and while sailing on the Nile River, being not in himself, he suddenly imagined himself as the incarnation of the god Osiris.

The incident was first considered the consequences of sunstroke, but the attacks, during which Dadd lost control of himself, recurred, and in 1843 he was declared insane. Richard’s father refused to send his son to an institution for the mentally ill, leaving him in the care of the family, and it cost him his life. In the same year, the young artist, having accepted his father in his delirium for Satan’s incarnation, killed him with a knife, after which he disappeared, according to some sources, while killing another person before being caught by the police in Paris.

The further fate of Daddah is associated with life in psychiatric hospitals – first the so-called Bedlama (Bethlema) hospital, and then in Broadmoor. He probably suffered from schizophrenia, although some modern specialists allow other diagnoses, for example, bipolar personality disorder. In total, Dadd spent in hospitals for about forty years, during which he did not cease to create.

The Bethlehem hospital was distinguished by an extremely progressive approach to treating the mentally ill for that time. They did not use the usual means of physical exposure, previously considered effective, the living conditions were quite humane, and patients, as can be seen from the example of Dadd, were given the opportunity to create. The artist’s work was greatly appreciated by Dr. J. G. Hayden, in whose administration the hospital was located, he even ordered works to Richard, which he later transferred to the Tate Gallery in London. Like, for example, the painting “The Masterful Swipe of a Fairy Woodcutter,” which Dadd wrote over nine years.

This work, with its incompleteness, which is striking in the foreground of the picture, gives the impression of three-dimensional, three-dimensional. It is impossible to just glance at it, strange creatures and the general plot, uniting many small incomprehensible details, themselves force the viewer to consider and reflect. Why do the characters so enthusiastically look at the nut, which is about to shatter under the blow of a powerful stone ax? The artist himself worked on the picture so thoroughly that he used a magnifying glass, and for the depth of perception he wrote a poem in which he described each of the pictures on the canvas.
The picture, in turn, became a source of inspiration for composers and writers, it is mentioned, in particular, in Robert Rankin’s novel Chisvik witches.

Another famous work Daddah, invented by him and created already in the hospital – “Children’s task”, where at once many details fascinate and even frighten.

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