Melancholy and Raving Madness: Statues

Contributed by Bethlem Hospital Archives and Museum

Melancholy and Raving Madness: Statues

The life-size statues of "Raving and Melancholy Madness" that were
displayed at the entrance to Bethlem Hospital from 1676 to 1815 are the
most famous works of the Danish sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber, and were
significant London landmarks of their time. These reclining figures
dramatise the binary opposition between manic and melancholic symptoms
which lay at the heart of pre-medieval and early modern understandings
of mental ill-health. Raving Madness is depicted in furious agony (and
in hospital chains, by the way) whereas Melancholy is free of restraint,
but expressionless and unengaged.

The Bethlem Royal Hospital (or Bedlam as it was also known by this period) is one of the world's oldest hospitals for the treatment of mental illness, and received visitors from around the world.

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