French Painting 1800-1825Gericault
   
Raft of the Medusa, 1812

 

Theodore Gericault, was born in 1791 and died in 1824. He was greatly influenced by the work of Michelangelo and other Italian Renaissance painters, as well as that of Peter Paul Rubens. Gericault's paintings began to exhibit qualities that set him apart from other neoclassical French painters as David. His Charging Chasseur and Wounded Cuirassier display violent action, dramatic color, and a bold design that evoke powerful emotion. His characteristics attributes culminate in his overpowering and immense canvas depicting the Raft of the Medusa, a turbulent painting of men at sea that are shipwrecked and dying. The painting's disturbing combination of idealized figures and realistically depicted agony, as well as its gigantic size and graphic detail, aroused a storm of controversy between neoclassical and romantic artists. Its depiction of a politically volatile scandal that happened due to government negligence added to the controversy. This brings about the start of French Romanticism. He later went to England, where he painted horses, modeled small figures and made excellent lithographs. 
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