Jean-Louis Géricault

Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault
26 September 1791 – 26 January 1824

Géricault was an influential artist who was one of the pioneers of the Romantic movement and is considered the first major painter of French Romanticism.

Romanticism is a vast artistic movement that touched every corner of art and design throughout the early 1800s and includes the work of poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, and Lord Byron; novelists Mary Shelley, Victor Hugo, and Walter Scott; and Géricault’s fellow French artist Eugene Delacroix as well as our previously-featured composer Frederic Chopin.

Géricault’s best-known work is featured on his headstone as well: The Raft of the Medusa. The painting depicts not a Greek myth but an 1810 maritime disaster caused by an incompetent captain. A series of disasters after the wreck led to a truly horrific fate for those who ended up on the raft (I mean look it up. It is yikes). The painting is considered a key transitional piece between the Neo-Classical and Romantic movements.

Sadly, Géricault — Like Chopin — was plagued by ill health caused by chronic tuberculosis and died quite young at just 32 years old. His monument was created by the sculptor, painter, and architect Antoine Étex and it is, ironically, one of his best-known works (along with two of the four sculptural groups that adorn l’Arc de Triomphe: la Résistance and La Paix).

RIP M. Géricault

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