The discussion of the relationship between art and madness within this thesis, is not intended to be a truly scientific work, but rather and investigative essay concentrating on providing only the most important and relevant information.

In order to avoid a probably largely fruitless discussion about what should be considered art and what should not, I will refer to creative as :


someone who :

  • uses existing information in a new and original way
  • has the ability to think productively
  • is distinguished by :
    • flexibility
    • frankness
    • unconventional thinking
    • tolerance for frustration
    • the resilience to prevail against already established opinions

Hence the term art when used , only serves to illustrate the probable results of creativity.

The misuse of the term madness appears to play a fundamental role in the assumption of a relationship between creativity and madness. To this end I have asked Prof.Dr.R.Michaelis to give me a professional definition.

Here is the essence of what he told me :

The term madness is colloquial; professionals use the term psychosis. Psychosis is a serious mental disorder, which develops either :
  • by itself (endogenous), or as a result of for example a poisoning (organic).
  • Endogenous psychosis is divided into two main areas:
    schizophrenia (split-personality) and affective illness (manic-depression).
  • All psychosis include :
    • disturbance of psychic functions
    • behavioural changes
    • patients' incapability to accept that they are ill
    • loss of sense of reality
    • restlessness
    • eating disorders
    • etc.

This definition would limit the number of truly mad artists a lot, since I suspect that the public would call nearly anyone mad who is distinctly different .