Théodore Géricault - Portrait of a Kleptomaniac

Théodore Géricault  Portrait of a Kleptomaniac

Around 1820, the painter Théodore Géricault was good friends with the young psychiatrist Etienne-Jean Georget. As a so-called "alienist", Georget played an important part in gaining recognition for the dignity of psychiatric patients. It was in these circles that, for instance, the concept of "monomania" was launched, meaning an illness that made patients suffer from one particular obsession or delusion. As part of this environment, and perhaps on the request of his friend and/or other psychiatrists, Géricault made a series of ten "studies" of monomaniacs, five of which have since gone missing. The Ghent masterpiece portrays a kleptomaniac. It displays a remarkable equilibrium between scientific interest and "Romantic" empathy. The great technical skill evident in the supple, strong and suggestive brushwork is equally striking. In this instance, there would seem to be no more difference between a "finished painting" and a "study".


H: 61,2 cm
W: 50,1 cm


Oil on canvas


c. 1820 - 1824