Mini Biography:Theodore Gericault

Birth: Sept. 26, 1791
Death: Jan. 26, 1824
Nationality: French
Movement: Romanticism
Born in northern France, Gericault was trained in what is currently known as English sporting art although, at the time, it was thought of more as animal art depicting fox hunts, horse racing, and game hunting. In his early 20’s he self-studied at the Louvre and at Versailles and exhibited in the 1812 Salon but left France for Italy after an incestuous affair with his aunt. In Italy, Gericault became enamored with Michelangelo and began a piece called “The Race Of The Barbari Horses” which was never completed. Upon his return to Paris he painted The Raft of the Medusa which was shown at the Salon of 1819 before being shown in England in 1820. Gericault painted a 10 portrait series of people afflicted with various psychiatric difficulties including one man suffering from delusions of military rank. All ten were patients of a friend and a noted French psychiatrist Étienne-Jean Georget who had commissioned the series. At age 32, in an already fragile state due to mental health issues and horseback riding accidents, Gericault succumbed to tuberculosis in Paris. He is buried in the largest cemetery in Paris, the Père Lachaise Cemetery, and his monument depicts him holding a brush and palette.
His notable works include: The Charging Chasseur (1812), The Raft of the Medusa part of which is used, unaltered, as the header image and is pictured below, and White Arabian Horse (before 1824.)
Gericault, Theodore. The Raft of the Medusa (1818-1819), Louvre Museum.


To read more about Gericault or his work visit:

National Gallery of Art