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Richard Dadd, 1817–1886, British, Negation, 1860
- Oil on canvas
- 20 x 13 1/2 inches (50.8 x 34.3 cm)
Signed and dated in brown paint, lower left: "Rd Dadd. 1860."
- Credit Line:
- Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
- Copyright Status:
- Public Domain
- Accession Number:
- Paintings and Sculpture
- Link to Frame:
- Subject Terms:
- child | dresses | flute | genre subject | hat | hill | jugs | musical instrument | pink (color) | recorder | women | yellow
- Not on view
- IIIF Manifest:
Richard Dadd painted Negation while confined as a “criminal lunatic” in Bethlem Hospital after murdering his father seventeen years before. It belongs to a group of paintings in which the deeply troubled artist attempted to illustrate one-word abstract concepts including “contradiction” and “mercy.” Negation lacks a clear narrative. The title seemingly refers to the boy’s and/or his mother’s refusal to take a piece of fruit from the woman seated on the far right. While the mother leads the boy away from the woman’s proffered produce, he looks back to meet the woman’s gaze directly, all the while squeezing his recorder in his left hand. Recorders and other wind instruments associated with Dionysus have appeared in art for centuries as phallic symbols, and it may be here that Dadd, whose own mother died when he was a boy, was projecting his own psychosexual anxieties onto canvas during his incarceration. Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016
Juxtapositions (Yale Center for British Art, 1997-11-19 - 1998-01-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]
Richard Dadd Exhibition (Davis & Langdale Co., Inc., 1994-05-03 - 1994-06-03) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]
Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 76-77, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]
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