Gericault: Images of Life and Death
Gericault: Images of Life and Death, currently on show at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfu rt and moving to Museum Voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent in February, opens with Bethlem's most iconic statues, Raving and Melancholy Madness. According to the curator of the exhibition Gregor Wedekind, the inclusion of the statues was essential, to provide a visual introduction to the work of the eminent Romantic artist .
The materiality and scale of the statues reflect Gericault's fascination with bodies, musculature and anatomy, their anguished expressions and writhing bodies representing the artist's interest in physiognomy and the workings of the human mind. The exhibition unpacks the contexts of Gericault's work and examines its relationship to subsequent art as well as media produced under the banner of science. In addition to works by Gericault, the exhibition navigates its themes through the inclusion of work by a variety of artists, from Francisco Goya to Marlene Dumas, and also showcases facsimiles of a selection of Bethlem's Henry Hering photographs, anatomical wax models and drawings. The broad themes are teased apart and explored in detail using a diverse and fascinating range of objects from a large number of important collections, boldly headed up by Raving and Melancholy.
This exhibition runs until Friday 24 January 2014 at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, before moving to the Museum Voor Schone Kunsten, Gent from Saturday 22 February until Sunday 25 May 2014.