Robert Schumann went mad, eventually. He had feared it all his life -- through writing all sorts of pieces for piano, violin ensemble, full orchestra, voice, and many other instruments as well -- since his adolescence. Forty-six years he lived, a rather short life, from June 8, 1810 until July 29, 1856.
Born the son of a bookseller, he studied piano. He enjoyed champagne and the writings of J.P.F Richter. He composed a little, and when he went to Leipzig to study law, he rather studied music. He convinced his family to let him give up law and be a pianist instead, but he unfortunately injured his fingers and so couldn’t play anymore, so he just composed more instead. He would have been a pianist -- now, he would be a pianist through others, since he couldn't be one himself. In 1834 he founded a musical journal, Neue Zeitschrif für Musik, which he edited for ten years. He was an excellent critic, bringing attention to many young composers and helping them to succeed, and sometimes he wrote under pseudonyms such as Eusebius, and Florestan. He sometimes used pseudonyms when he composed as well.
He mainly composed piano pieces, such as Davidsbündlertänze, Phantasiestücke, and Kinderszenen. He married the daughter of his old piano teacher in 1840.
That year he wrote some of his best pieces: in fact, he wrote about 150 of them.
His style consisted mainly of cycles of melodies, coming together in variations. The next year, though, he turned to Orchestral music, and also wrote some chamber music. It was in 1850 that he wrote the Cello Concerto, when he was a director of the town musical program in Düsseldorf. Unfortunately, he became sick and went mad, suffering hallucinations. In 1854 he entered an asylum, where he would die two years later.
Like many other composers of this era, he didn't live the most luxurious life, and he moved around from place to place doing musical-type jobs like teaching, conducting, and studying. For some reason he seems to be more of an less-famous composer than big names like Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, etc. even though he did interact with people of their class -- example, he taught in Leipzig when Mendelssohn was the director there. Perhaps it is because often the most famous composers not only composed their work, but played it themselves as well, example being Beethoven who was a concert pianist as well as a composer.
He would have been a fantastic piano player, had he not hurt himself. It's a shame that it had to happen, and that he went insane. Though it is said that the best minds are the most unstable, so perhaps it goes to show his talent.