Painting: Method onto Madness

Insanity today is considered primarily a medical problem. But over the centuries the notion persisted that the mad were afflicted by God—and that along with this affliction went preternatural vision. The 19th century painter Richard Dadd had the fortune—as well as the misfortune—to embody the two definitions. His talent blossomed in an insane asylum. Yet his masterpiece, The Fairy Feller's Masterstroke, combines Boschian mystery with Alice-in-Wonderland fantasy in a way that makes it clear Dadd was a prophet of Surrealism. In a recent issue of the New Statesman, Critic Edward Lucie-Smith...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!