Theodore géricault

Theodore géricault - 1

  • Date of birth: 26 Sep 1791
  • Date of death: 26 Jan 1824
  • Country: France


The age of the artist is different. Someone creates 40-50 years, leaving people hundreds of paintings, someone barely has time to reveal his talent. géricault was released a decade to create. His tragic death came as a surprise to all and a great loss for art. But every work of this master became a model for several generations of artists, and in art history it is difficult to find a painter close in talent and depth.

Theodore Gericault was born in the family of a wealthy bourgeois. Father had a few tobacco plantations in the South of France, the mother came from a highly respected merchant family. The boy grew up during the great revolution, which miraculously affected his family.

With his youth, Theodore had two passions – horses and painting. Good tone demanded that the offspring of the famous family received a good education and served the Fatherland. After graduating from the prestigious College, Gericault entered the military service in the Musketeers. By this time the revolutionary ideas of a few shabby and have lost their rebellious sense. France from a Republic became an Empire, and Empire requires Imperial style in art. Heavy, slow and rich Empire style could not be to the taste of the young man who received the basics of the beautiful craftsmanship at such famous painters as Vernet and Guerin, the old precepts of the great Flemish and Dutch.

The young musketeer wrote his first works as expected on battle scenes. This period of creativity gave us many drawings and sketches depicting the beloved master of the horses.

Within 5 years (1810-1815), the artist diligently copying the works of Rubens, Rembrandt and Titian. All the while he tries to discover the secrets of the masters of the past and to find their own style. Important role in the life of géricault played a trip to Italy. Unlike France, in the country painting tradition has evolved over 6 centuries, and the rest of Europe often took over all that were born in Italy.

From the Italian trip, géricault brings his most famous work “the Raft of the Medusa”. The drama, emotion, unprecedented accuracy and meaningfulness of the image surprised the French and left many indifferent. France has not yet adopted the fashion for romanticism, reveling in their own Empire and the remnants of classicism. The French were not ready to appreciate the work of his great master.

It took quite a bit of time and criticism, proponents of academicism in painting, suddenly saw géricault talented and brave wizard. The French “grunted” and went to look at the picture a second time. Came to fame…

Enjoying fame and lot of orders, géricault starts work, which was conceived in 1812. Romantic, citizen and creative artist was going to write a monumental work on the theme of the retreat of the French troops from Russia. Was the story developed composition, were derived the prototypes of the soldiers. A tragic accident interrupted the life of the master. In 1824, during normal for géricault training in riding, he fell off his horse. The blow fell on the temple.

The legacy of the masters began a few psychological portraits, battle paintings, a few genre works, a few unfinished sculptures, and a huge number of drawings and sketches, all of which can be seen brilliant ideas of the master, which remained unfinished.