Theodore Gericault

Géricault, Jean Louis André Théodore

Jean Louis André Théodore Géricault (zhäN lwē äNdrā´ tāōdôr´ zhārēkō´), 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).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Theodore Gericault: Selected full-text books and articles

Gericault: Drawings & Watercolors By Klaus Berger; Thaeodore Gaericault H. Bittner and Company, 1946
An Outline of 19th Century European Painting: From David through Cézanne By Lorenz Eitner Westview Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodore Gericault begins on p. 171
Painting and Sculpture in Europe, 1780 to 1880 By Fritz Novotny Penguin Books, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodore Gericault begins on p. 85
Culture and Society in France, 1789-1848 By F. W. J. Hemmings Peter Lang, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodore Gericault begins on p. 149
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists By Ian Chilvers Oxford University Press, 1996 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Theodore Gericault begins on p. 199
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