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34 Oostelijke Handelskade
Amsterdam, NH, 1019 BM

+31 (0)20 2629913

Beautiful Distress was founded on the concept that there is a great deal of mental suffering, that not enough people are aware of this and that not enough is done to stop it.

The Foundation uses art in an attempt to open up the world of psychiatry and battle the stigma attached to it.

Why art? Beautiful Distress believes that art is pre-eminently capable of articulating and depicting the human condition

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Madness, Psychiatry, and the Visual Arts in History

Maarten Van Overeem

Madness from the outside in

Dementia by Esquirol

Dementia by Esquirol

Since at least the 13th century, artists have been fascinated by insanity. There are literally hundreds of images, most stylised and stereotypic, of ‘madness’ and ‘the madman’ (or woman).

Gail A. Hornstein considers artistic depictions of insanity, article in  The Psycologist, december 2015

When asylums spread across 19th-century Europe, providing a captive population of mad people, artists began to use actual patients as models for their drawings and paintings. These images are often less extreme than earlier portraits, but their typically grotesque emotionality is just as dehumanising.