This site requires JavaScript to be enabled to work properly, some features of the site may not work while it is disabled.

“Sleep” by Bryan Charnley

14 March 2018

A sleeping person lies face up at the bottom of the picture. White geese fly against a bright blue sky.

Meir Kryger, an American Professor in sleep medicine writes “When one goes to sleep, one falls alone, and when one enters dreamland, one walks by one’s self. Here lies the appeal for artists.”

Bethlem Museum of the Mind displays Brian Charnley’s painting entitled ‘Sleep’. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in adolescence, Charnley (1949-1991) was said to have found sleep a great refuge, and used his dreams as a source of imagery and inspiration such as in this painting. Art connoisseurs draw attention to the painting’s power to take the sleeper away from a mundane and bounded existence, represented here by the claustrophobic wallpaper of the room to the dream window which opens onto a wide blue sky crossed by a skein of swans, a beautiful image of freedom.

This painting is particularly relevant to the annual event of World Sleep Day, held the Friday before the Spring Vernal Equinox of each year. In 2018, World Sleep Day will be on March 16, 2018.

An initiative by the World Association of Sleep Medicine and The World Sleep Federation, the day is intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, and its social aspects.

Do celebrate World Sleep Day by visiting ‘Sleep’ at the Bethlem Museum.

The museum extends its thanks to Dr Joan Rutherford for writing this blog post. 

Tagged in: schizophrenia, bryan charnley, artwork,