The painting depicts the French naval ship Méduse as it arrived in Mauritania on July 5, 1816 after experiencing huge problems on it's journey leading to get damage to the Meduse as well as large numbers of casualties in the crew.
The extent of this horror is well captured by the artist who took advantage of a massive canvas to include as much detail as possible.
The Raft of Medusa was placed on display immediately after Gericault had completed the work and achieved polarised views in both positive and negative ways offering great publicity to the painter, and, in the main, academic approval as well interest in what he could produce in the following years. Sadly Gericault passed away just five years later and his full potential was only partially realised.
Theodore Gericault produced several study pieces in preparation for his final painting found here. Cannibalism on the Raft of the Medusa was a crayon sketch with a darker feel and from a different angle whilst several other works followed as he got closer to the final piece after his research and development was complete.
Theodore Gericault sadly passed away at just 32 which is tragedy considering what he had already achieved within his career, and the promise he showed for the future years. His brief career produced some other notable paintings besides The Raft of Medusa, such as Portrait of a Kleptomaniac, Evening: Landscape with an Aquaduct, The Charging Chasseur, Wounded Cuirassier and The Derby of Epsom.
Gericault's own ability was taught from careful study at the Louvre where he produced his own versions of classic paintings by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Diego Velázquez and Rembrandt. He stayed at the Louvre for around six years to help progress his techniques and experience, and so it was fitting when the Louvre purchased The Raft of the Medusa upon his death from London and has displayed it there ever since.
Gericault quickly progressed from an early age into a talented artist and paintings such as The Raft of Medusa achieved immediate academic approval, helping his reputation to rise within his own lifetime which many other artists have not managed.
Aside from Theodore Gericault and his The Raft of the Medusa oil painting, there are two other Romanticist artists who are certainly also worth studying. Fellow French artist Delacroix produced Libery Leading the People amongst many others in a considerable career. Many Delacroix prints are also available in the Louvre alongside Gericault's finest art.
Raft of the Medusa prints are the most popular reproductions from the career of French painter Theodore Gericault, and this original oil painting is the most respected work from his whole career. Raft of the Medusa is covered in full in this website, with links offered to those looking to buy their own copy of it as a print from a trusted retailer who we are happy to recommend.
Raft of the Medusa is available to buy from the links above, with Art.com offering framed and unframed art prints, giclee prints, stretched canvases and posters. Raft of the Medusa remains Gericault's best known painting and it is now on display amongst the incredible collection of the Louvre in Paris, France. The original painting was traditional oil on canvas in the Romanticist art style and measured an impressive 491 cm × 716 cm (193.3 inches × 282.3 inches).
JMW Turner was the pick of the British romanticists and also created several notable seascape paintings with warships such as Fighting Temeraire. For those interested in British romanticist art, you can find Turner prints here.
Le Radeau de la Meduse is the correct French title of this painting
Le Radeau de la Meduse retains it's strong French history as a key work within the collection of the best French Museum, the Louvre.
It also represents the career of Theodore Gericault who was one of the leading French Romanticist artists. The legacy of this classic artist can be found in the works of Eugene Delacroix, JMW Turner, Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet to name just a few.
List of Famous Paintings by Theodore Gericault
Raft of the Medusa was by no means the only significant art work from Theodore Gericault, see a comprehensive list below:
- Portrait of a Kleptomaniac
- Insane Woman
- The 1821 Derby at Epsom
- The Woman with Gambling Mania
- The Raft of the Medusa
- The Race of the Riderless Horses
- Wounded Cuirassier Leaving the Field of Battle
- The Charging Chasseur