Géricault, Jean Louis André Théodore [key], 1791–1824, French painter. He studied with Antoine Vernet and with Pierre Guérin, in whose studio he met Delacroix. In 1812 he exhibited his Cavalry Officer and in 1814 the Wounded Cuirassier (both: Louvre). From 1816 to 1817 he studied in Rome. On his return to Paris he exhibited his famous Raft of the Medusa (1819; Louvre), a large, turbulent painting of a group of shipwrecked men at sea. The work was based on an event of that period that had scandalous elements and political significance, thus exciting much public interest. In 1820, Géricault exhibited the picture in London and won general acclaim and a considerable fortune. His three years' stay in England resulted in fine paintings of horses, including The Village Forge, Horse Fed by a Child, and the celebrated Epsom Derby (Louvre). He also painted portraits of the insane, such as The Madwoman (1822–23). In addition, he modeled small figures and made excellent lithographs. A fall from a horse in England caused his untimely death. His active life as an artist lasted little over 10 years, but it sufficed to place him among the finest painters of his century. His enlivening influence on French painting was immediate and lasting.
See studies by K. Berger (tr. 1955) and L. Eitner (1985).
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