The painting was highly esteemed and was adopted by Sodomy, the Lash and Rum as cover. The attention of the audience is initially pulled towards the middle of the canvas, and then trails the directional stream of the bodies of survivors, seen from the rear and stretching towards the right. Even Géricault's treatment of the sea is muted, being rendered in dark greens rather than the deep blues that could have afforded contrast with the tones of the raft and its figures. He visited hospitals and morgues where he could view, first-hand, the colour and texture of the flesh of the dying and dead. Géricault even severed body parts taken from the local morgue which he let decay in his studio and later use them as references. This can be seen in part as a reaction to the earlier Neoclassicism of and , which embodied Enlightenment values of order and reason.
Gericault deliberately chose this widely known event with potential to arouse immense public attention and assist boost his profession. Sadly, it wasn't until after his death at age 32 that Louvre curator Louis Nicolas Philippe Auguste de Forbin pursued acquisition of The Raft of the Medusa for the museum's coveted collection. Géricault was a dandy and an horseman whose dramatic paintings reflect his and passionate personality. Those who smolders hope of salvation, is very small. The Raft of the Medusa: Géricault, Art, and Race, Prestel, 2002, ,. Although The Raft of the Medusa retains elements of the traditions of , in both its choice of subject matter and its dramatic presentation, it represents a break from the calm and order of the prevailing school. The Revolution had undone, in many ways, the power of the Church.
The shocking impact the event had on society is explored through Gericault's use of expression and colour. He painted directly on the white canvas, without rough sketch or any preparation of any sort, except for the firmly traced contours, and yet the solidity of the work was none the worse for it. Géricault chose to depict this event in order to launch his career with a large-scale uncommissioned work on a subject that had already generated great public interest. Géricault spent much time in preparing for this painting doing numerous sketches. He created a series of lithographs that detail the struggles and desperation faced by London's poor. The only African figure on the raft waves a cloth at the top of a pile of a few men who are struggling to get the attention of a ship in the distance located on the far right of the horizon line.
The wealthy were given access and ample space on the lifeboats while the remaining 149 people were forced onto a makeshift raft which was tied by a rope to one of the lifeboats. Despite the fact that Gericaults survivors had stayed for thirteen days in the sea and experienced disease, cannibalism and hunger, the painter honors gallant painting customs and depicts his forms as healthy and muscular. However to add feeling to the painting he has allowed the seas to be whipped up high in a frenzy of surf under blackened storm clouds. Méduse held nearly four hundred people, as well as the new governor of Senegal. He depicted dramatic scenes from real life on a monumental scale and found inspiration as a draughtsman in the most humble subjects.
Although the Méduse was carrying 400 people, including 160 crew, there was space for only about 250 in the boats. These works combine the classical influence of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin with the emotional, dramatic mood indicative of the burgeoning Romantic style Géricault would soon embrace. Its influence is seen in Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Curbed, Edouard magnet and J. Géricault must have been fully aware when he submitted the work to the Paris Salon that it would prove controversial as the demise of the Medusa and terrible loss of life was blamed on the Bourbon government and so whether the painting was acclaimed or condemned depended a a great deal on whether the viewer was pro or anti Bourbon. However, Romanticism came to prevail everywhere in the atmosphere of the time, especially as an inspiration of liberty, poetry, and lyricism. As such, the piece contained all the features that defined what Romantic meant.
It should be noted that Géricault died about five years after its completion at the age of thirty-two. While in and Rome 1816—17 , he became fascinated with and Baroque art. Gericault died aged thirty three in 1824. Social injustice in relation to politics and religion has been the driving forces for artists such as Theodore Gericault in reaction to the inhumanity around them. The dramatic contrapposto of the male nude also seems to presage the artist's later interest in Michelangelo and the expressive possibilities inherent in the body itself. This complex, atmospheric composition shows off the young artists ambition.
The ship, however, passed by. The massive size of the painting is in keeping with traditional historical paintings, although the subject was a current event and unlike most historical paintings, there is no clear-cut hero s. For Romanticism the main basis of their art was the belief in the value of individual experience. The work was based on the wreck of a French frigate off the coast of Senegal in 1816, with over 150 soldiers on board. Lithograph - Collection of Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France The Monomaniac of Gambling c.
From there, Géricault used the raft as an eerie model. Gericault was thus denied the well-liked acclaim he desired. Due to the shortage of lifeboats, those who were left behind had to build a raft for 150 souls. This work is a key example of Romantic painting. However, Géricault was devastated that the institution did not request the piece for its national gallery. The Wreck of the Medusa: The Most Famous Sea Disaster of the Nineteenth Century. At some point, the raft was either intentionally or accidentally cut loose.