Madness & Modernity exhibition at London's Wellcome Collection





A fantastic new exhibition at London's Wellcome Collection charts the sometimes blurred line between artistic genius and insanity. Madness & Modernity focuses on how the issue of mental illness was broached in fin de siécle Vienna. This was a period of artistic flux in Austria's imperial capital, with radical departures from tradition felt across the arts.

Prominent artists of the day crossed paths with mental illness. The first room opens, for example, with a trio of spookily deranged busts by the sculptor Messerschmidt. Next the viewer can observe the grandiose Steinhof sanatorium, 'the city on a hill', built by one of the most celebrated modernist architects of his day, Otto Wagner.

Portraitists such as Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka broke from the norm by depicting their subjects in contorted, often spasmodic positions. Not least of these subjects was Schiele himself who, in a series of famous self-portraits, portrayed his own body in a range of painfully angular poses...



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