Théodore Géricault by Horace Vernet, circa 1822–1823
|Died||26 January 1824 32) (aged|
|Known for||Painting, lithography|
|The Raft of the Medusa|
Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault (French: [ʒɑ̃ lwi ɑ̃dʁe teodoʁ ʒeʁiko] ; 26 September 1791 – 26 January 1824) was an influential French painter and lithographer, whose best-known painting is The Raft of the Medusa . Although he died young, he was one of the pioneers of the Romantic movement.
Born in Rouen, France, Géricault was educated in the tradition of English sporting art by Carle Vernet and classical figure composition by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, a rigorous classicist who disapproved of his student's impulsive temperament while recognizing his talent.Géricault soon left the classroom, choosing to study at the Louvre, where from 1810 to 1815 he copied paintings by Rubens, Titian, Velázquez and Rembrandt.
During this period at the Louvre he discovered a vitality he found lacking in the prevailing school of Neoclassicism.Much of his time was spent in Versailles, where he found the stables of the palace open to him, and where he gained his knowledge of the anatomy and action of horses.
Géricault's first major work, The Charging Chasseur , exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1812, revealed the influence of the style of Rubens and an interest in the depiction of contemporary subject matter. This youthful success, ambitious and monumental, was followed by a change in direction: for the next several years Géricault produced a series of small studies of horses and cavalrymen.
He exhibited Wounded Cuirassier at the Salon in 1814, a work more labored and less well received.Géricault in a fit of disappointment entered the army and served for a time in the garrison of Versailles. In the nearly two years that followed the 1814 Salon, he also underwent a self-imposed study of figure construction and composition, all the while evidencing a personal predilection for drama and expressive force.
A trip to Florence, Rome, and Naples (1816–17), prompted in part by the desire to flee from a romantic entanglement with his aunt,ignited a fascination with Michelangelo. Rome itself inspired the preparation of a monumental canvas, the Race of the Barberi Horses, a work of epic composition and abstracted theme that promised to be "entirely without parallel in its time". However, Géricault never completed the painting and returned to France. In 1821, he painted The Derby of Epsom .
Géricault continually returned to the military themes of his early paintings, and the series of lithographs he undertook on military subjects after his return from Italy are considered some of the earliest masterworks in that medium. Perhaps his most significant, and certainly most ambitious work, is The Raft of the Medusa (1818–19), which depicted the aftermath of a contemporary French shipwreck, Meduse , in which the captain had left the crew and passengers to die.
The incident became a national scandal, and Géricault's dramatic interpretation presented a contemporary tragedy on a monumental scale. The painting's notoriety stemmed from its indictment of a corrupt establishment, but it also dramatized a more eternal theme, that of man's struggle with nature.It surely excited the imagination of the young Eugène Delacroix, who posed for one of the dying figures.
The classical depiction of the figures and structure of the composition stand in contrast to the turbulence of the subject, so that the painting constitutes an important bridge between neo-classicism and romanticism. It fuses many influences: the Last Judgment of Michelangelo, the monumental approach to contemporary events by Antoine-Jean Gros, figure groupings by Henry Fuseli, and possibly the painting Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley.
The painting ignited political controversy when first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1819; it then traveled to England in 1820, accompanied by Géricault himself, where it received much praise. While in London, Géricault witnessed urban poverty, made drawings of his impressions, and published lithographs based on these observations which were free of sentimentality.He associated much there with Charlet, the lithographer and caricaturist.
After his return to France in 1821, Géricault was inspired to paint a series of ten portraits of the insane, the patients of a friend, Dr. Étienne-Jean Georget, a pioneer in psychiatric medicine, with each subject exhibiting a different affliction.There are five remaining portraits from the series, including Insane Woman .
The paintings are noteworthy for their bravura style, expressive realism, and for their documenting of the psychological discomfort of individuals, made all the more poignant by the history of insanity in Géricault's family, as well as the artist's own fragile mental health.His observations of the human subject were not confined to the living, for some remarkable still-lifes—painted studies of severed heads and limbs—have also been ascribed to the artist.
Géricault's last efforts were directed toward preliminary studies for several epic compositions, including the Opening of the Doors of the Spanish Inquisition and the African Slave Trade.The preparatory drawings suggest works of great ambition, but Géricault's waning health intervened. Weakened by riding accidents and chronic tubercular infection, Géricault died in Paris in 1824 after a long period of suffering. His bronze figure reclines, brush in hand, on his tomb at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, above a low-relief panel of The Raft of the Medusa.
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school.
Méduse was a 40-gun Pallas-class frigate of the French Navy, launched in 1810. She took part in the Napoleonic Wars during the late stages of the Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 and in raids in the Caribbean.
The Raft of the Medusa – originally titled Scène de Naufrage – is an oil painting of 1818–19 by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). Completed when the artist was 27, the work has become an icon of French Romanticism. At 491 by 716 cm, it is an over-life-size painting that depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today's Mauritania on 2 July 1816. On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation and dehydration and practiced cannibalism. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain.
Pierre-Paul Prud'hon was a French Romantic painter and draughtsman best known for his allegorical paintings and portraits such as Madame Georges Anthony and Her Two Sons (1796). Notably, he painted a portrait of each of Napoleon's two wives.
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Achille Jacques-Jean-Marie Devéria was a French painter and lithographer known for his portraits of famous writers and artists. His younger brother was the Romantic painter Eugène Devéria, and two of his six children were Théodule Devéria and Gabriel Devéria.
Le Radeau de la Méduse is a French film by Iranian film director Iradj Azimi. It is based on the 1816 wreck of the French frigate Méduse, and the 1819 painting Le Radeau de la Méduse by Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault which depicts the event. Filming began in 1987, but was interrupted by Hurricane Hugo in September 1989, which delayed completion of the film until the following year. Distribution of film then languished for several years, until Azimi cut his wrist in front of officials of the French Ministry of Culture.
The Charging Chasseur, or An Officer of the Imperial Horse Guards Charging is an oil painting on canvas of about 1812 by the French painter Théodore Géricault, portraying a mounted Napoleonic cavalry officer who is ready to attack.
Portrait of a Kleptomaniac or Portrait of an Insane Person is an 1822 oil painting by Théodore Géricault. It is part of series of ten portraits made for the psychiatrist Étienne-Jean Georget and is currently kept in the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium.
The Barque of Dante, also Dante and Virgil in Hell, is the first major painting by the French artist Eugène Delacroix, and is a work signalling the shift in the character of narrative painting, from Neo-Classicism towards Romanticism. The painting loosely depicts events narrated in canto eight of Dante's Inferno; a leaden, smoky mist and the blazing City of the Dead form the backdrop against which the poet Dante fearfully endures his crossing of the River Styx. As his barque ploughs through waters heaving with tormented souls, Dante is steadied by Virgil, the learned poet of Classical antiquity.
The 1821 Derby at Epsom, or Horse Race is an 1821 painting by Théodore Géricault in the Louvre Museum, showing The Derby of that year.
The Massacre at Chios is the second major oil painting by the French artist Eugène Delacroix. The work is more than four meters tall, and shows some of the horror of the wartime destruction visited on the Island of Chios in the Chios massacre. A frieze-like display of suffering characters, military might, ornate and colourful costumes, terror, disease and death is shown in front of a scene of widespread desolation.
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The Woman with Gambling Mania is an 1822 painting by Théodore Géricault. It is a member of a series of ten portraits of people with specific manias done by Géricault between 1820 and 1824, including Portrait of a Kleptomaniac and Insane Woman. Following the controversy surrounding his The Raft of the Medusa, Géricault fell into a depression. In return for help by psychiatrist Étienne-Jean Georget, Géricault offered him a series of paintings of mental patients, including this one, in a time when the scientific world was curious about the minds of the mentally insane. A solid example of romanticism, Géricault's portrait of a mental asylum patient attempts to show a specific form of insanity through facial expression.
The Wounded Cuirassier is an oil painting of a single anonymous soldier descending a slope with his horse by the French Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). In this 1814 Salon entry, Géricault decided to depict a different view of battle than the generally done views of entire battles or of famous generals bravely fighting. On display just a few months after Napoleon's fall from power, this life-size painting symbolized the French defeats and Napoleon's failure. Though the painting is called The Wounded Cuirassier, there are no visible wounds on the soldier. Additionally, though Géricault generally created several drafts before settling on a final design, there do not seem to be any paintings of his that could be considered precursors to this painting. Only his Signboard of a Hoofsmith, which is currently in a private collection, bears any resemblance in form or function to this painting.
The French Restoration style was predominantly Neoclassicism, though it also showed the beginnings of romanticism in music and literature. The term describes the arts, architecture, and decorative arts of the Bourbon Restoration period (1814–1830), during the reign of Louis XVIII and Charles X from the fall of Napoleon to the July Revolution of 1830 and the beginning of the reign of Louis-Philippe.
Joseph also known as Joseph le Nègre was an art model in France. Joseph was known for working with Théodore Géricault. Joseph's family name is was not recorded, it is likely that he was born in the French colony of Saint Domingue, present day Haiti, around 1793 and died in France after 1865. Joseph worked as an acrobat in France before becoming an artist's model.