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Théodore Géricault. The Raft of the Medusa. 1819. 




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Théodore Géricault. The Raft of the Medusa. 1819. 491 cm × 716 cm (193.3 in × 282.3 in)

The Raft of the Medusa is a monumental work by its dimensions but also by the work of documentation to which its author Theodore Géricault delivered itself on this fact of topicality. Made violent one contrasts of shade and light, of a thick key, daring by its topic and the realism of the bodies this description of the martyrdom of 149 people makes scandal with the living room of Paris in 1819. However while breaking with the neo-classicism illustrated by David the table opens the way in before romantic guard and Delacroix then young friend of the painter. 

The horizon is on one the higher third of the painting .

The sail of fortune, the character who agitates a clothing and the horizon are on the natural tension fields of work. Pursuant to the rule of the thirds.

Two pyramidal constructions compose work:
On the left, under the sail of fortune, the pyramid of despair, the adversity and the head winds is. The characters died, dying or desperate.
On the right it is a more optimistic pyramid, it begins with the lifeless body from the son whom the old man holds on his knees, aligns themselves on the arms of the mass of the central figures tended towards Argus, the saving ship, and is completed in its top by the red fabric deployed towards the future rescue. Of course work is articulated around the downward diagonal which gives a strong impression of fall and forfeiture.

Whereas outside the raft the lines are subjacent with the construction of the picture, inside the multiplication of the broken lines suggests a tangle of body well.

Almost invisible, as improbable as a mirage, Argus, the ship which will collect ten survivor on July 17th, 1816 appears with far…

It was coloured man which Géricault has chooses to hold up the red rag, gesture which will save the survivors off the raft. The painter had ace has project vast 
composition against the draft off the blacks, it does not hide it’s liberal convictions.

The group with the foot of the mast of the raft is constituted of Mr. Savigny and Mr. Coréar whose arm indicates the direction of the saving boat. Géricault met and 
questioned these two survivors before making them pose in their own role for this painting.

With the foreground, plunging his empty and desperate glance in that of the spectator, an old man holds the lifeless body of his son on his knees. He turns the back on the hope of the next rescue and very seems to have lost…

It is friendly young Delacroix and admiror of Géricault which posed for the representation of this character, corpse or dying, given up with the back of the raft.


The light comes from the left upper part of work. It is lighting of a dramatic type, the luminous reflections on dead-men, dying and with the drift increase this effect further. 

A majority of hot colours and much of analogy.

Harmonize and contrasts.

The carryforward of the colours used to work out the painting on the chromatic circle indicates a great harmony of analogy between hot colours.