France • 1791−1824

Biography and information

A pioneer of French romanticism Theodore Gericault (Theodore Gericault) lived a short but bright life. He was born two years after the beginning of the bourgeois revolution, his childhood had at the time of the Empire, and youth is the period of restoration. Although paintings of Theodore Gericault is a comprehensive portrait of the Napoleonic era with her desperate bravado and a sense of looming disaster, he was never interested in politics. Two passions were accompanied by a biography of géricault – the art and for horses. And both proved fatal.

Biography Of Theodore Gericault: Part 1. "The mixer"

Géricault was born in Rouen in 1791. His mother Louise Caruel belonged to an ancient and nebesnomu family Norman bourgeois, and the father, George Nicola Gericault was a lawyer, punter and had a large tobacco business. People are prosperous, they certainly leaned to the royalist revolution seemed to them something wild and threatening, and Napoleon in the family as "the usurper" and do not call.

After 1898 the family Gericault moved to the capital. Theodore studied first at the private Parisian boarding school, then in the Imperial Lyceum. Like all young men of his time, he is in awe of the victorious military adventures of Napoleon and when the army returns from another trip, running around to look through the grille of the Tuileries on proudly galloping Ulan and Dragoon. Only, unlike his peers, he doesn't care about Imperial ambitions: here the horse the guards – Yes!

The first thing is trying to draw Gericault, horses. Their graceful neck, powerful grains and a smart head. He seeks to convey a vivid sense of the constant internal mobility, and he did it. Stables, forges, stables and racecourses become favorite places of Gericault. There he not only observer. In the 16 years géricault known as an excellent rider. It is also known that horses Theodore always chooses the most restive and unruly. He likes the risk, the constant game with death.

Considered George Nicola Gericault would like to see his son a lawyer or a businessman. There it was: in 1808, the year Theodore left school and told my father that henceforth will live as he wants. The mother left him a sizable inheritance, and 17-year-old romantic ordered them accordingly: first, the bought a thoroughbred horse, and secondly, took a course to the artist Karl Werne, "chief on horse" in French painting.

Theodore studied for two years and was disappointed. In fact, surface Vernet with his fake races, battles and cavalcade have nothing new to teach Gericault. Theodore tends to be something harsh and sublime, and Verne can offer only lightweight elegance. "Yes, one of my horse would have eaten six horses Vernet!" – threw one of Gericault.

After that Theodore chooses a workshop Pierre Guerin, student Jacques-Louis Davidand staunch adherent of classicism. Classmates immediately recognize the undeniable superiority of the newcomer. He can easily sketch any seen object. As if anticipating his short age, starts immediately, easily and without overclocking. Géricault was not required hard work and sweat: everything was given to him by nature. He hit not even accuracy of drawing, and his incredible energy. Guerin was initially horrified by the rough and even rude painting of Gericault, but then resigned. Rabid temperament and impulsivity Theodore securely insure it from classical rational correctness and gladkovichi. Pasty smear géricault is so thick that classmates call him le patissier – a mixer.

Picture 21-year-old géricault "Officer of the Imperial horse Rangers"was the result of his studies. Presented in a Square (main) hall of the Salon of 1812, she won the gold medal and caused great excitement among the French, reveling in the power of his army and no idea about her future troubles. Old Jacques-Louis David visited the exhibition and was amazed by how an unexpected discovery: "Where is it? I don't know this brush!"

Never again for the rest of a short life, Gericault him not drop such a huge success.

Biography Of Theodore Gericault: Part 2. Musketeer of the king

Salon has not yet closed, when Paris began to receive terrible news: Borodino, Napoleon's troops lost about 40 thousand, while crossing the Berezina river – about 30. In fact, the brilliant Napoleon's army ceased to exist.

Here begins a new campaign of mobilization. In 1811-m géricault had to call for service, but then it was replaced by a Claude Petit. By then standards, it was okay to send to serve instead of a substitute. Father Gericault this cost 4 thousand francs. Moscow March cooled the hottest heads: no one else wanted in the army of Napoleon it ceased to be an army of winners.
Theodore evaded the draft this time and continued to do what she loves – painting and horses. He spent hours lost in the Louvre. Never before has the Museum's collection was not so rich: of all the campaigns of the army of Napoleon took the precious trophies in the form of works of art. Géricault writes of horses in the Imperial stables of Versailles. The feeling of anxiety in his work only increases.

In 1813 France is facing the threat of occupation by foreign armies, Napoleon again is perceived as a defender of national interests, and géricault paints a picture "The wounded cuirassier leaving field of battle"it is presented at the Salon of 1814. How did it differ from the "Officer of the Imperial Rangers"! No more heroics of war – it is terror and despair. And it does not find among his contemporaries understand: no one wants to be disappointed.

The failure of géricault is experiencing hard. He decides to quit painting, and his father, a monarchist, as if waiting for when this hour comes, buys for Theodore patent for service in the Royal guard. In power again, the Bourbons, Napoleon defeated and fled to Elba. But by now the king's Musketeers. But he does not feel that the monarchy is not the slightest reverence. When Napoleon, moving with thousands of loyal soldiers, came close to Paris, and Louis XVIII fled in panic to Belgium, géricault accompanies him to the border, only a sense of duty. And then forever drops musketeer uniform, dressed as a coachman and returned to Paris. Of course, in a kaleidoscope of changing modes géricault could become a victim of politics, but the risk has never been something he feared. The risk is what he was looking for.

The women were from géricault crazy. Rough rider with an athletic figure, he was still extremely good. In the character of Theodore was combined all that fascinates – the tenderness and the passion, fervor and dreamy melancholy. And to géricault to fuel creative fire necessary was a constant challenge, balancing on the brink. That's what he got fell in love with Alexandrin Caruel.
In our story have already met this name. Right: Caruel - mother's surname géricault, and it's not a coincidence. Alexandrin was the young wife of her brother, i.e. uncle Theodore, and she replied by ardent affection. The affair was revealed, the scandal became public and very loud, the family terrified. And Gericault, romantics with a peculiar exaltation, cursing himself for falling misfortune and decides to run away from them. In Italy.

Biography Of Theodore Gericault: Part 3. "Italian"

Horses, horse racing, racecourses, stables... In Italy géricault does not change their preferences. Equally he was impressed with the Sistine chapel and "moss" – a violent confrontation before the race the horses and guards, seeking to hold them until the whistle for the start line.

Sweet southern air naveivaet artist new motives – erotic. In General, it's hard to believe géricault, with his burning interest in the life of the body, anatomy, muscle tension, not interested before the love theme, but that's it. The magnificent horse's head or standing in a number of horse grits were worth more to him than love euphoria. And suddenly, in Italy there is a drawing géricault "Leda and the Swan"that plays on the famous erotic myth. Once he was addressed Michelangelo – favorite artist géricault. Only Leda Michelangelotalks about the irresistible voluptuousness, and "Leda" géricault – resistance to violence.

Biography Of Theodore Gericault: Part 4. Recluse

In 1818, géricault returned to France, and their mutual passion with Alexandrin broke out with renewed vigor. The lovers gave birth to a son Georges-Hippolyte. The relationship aunt and nephew, again at the center of the scandal. Father Gericault allocates money for the placement of a bastard in an orphanage and Alexandrin taken away in the dead of the province.

Life géricault was prone to exhausting alternations of joyous elation and the most melancholy. At this time, experiencing depression, it is almost a year locked in his Studio. In a fit of self-flagellation géricault cut their own hair bald and have sentenced myself to seclusion.

It was during these nine months, like a baby out of the womb, is born a masterpiece of Gericault and his famous "The Raft Of The Medusa". The film is based on a true story that happened a couple of years ago. Inexperienced sailor just bought a captaincy and went on the frigate "Medusa" to the shores of Africa. The ship began to sink. Boats enough not everyone. 149 people chafing on the raft and allowed to drift. 13 days they struggle with the sea and each other for food, water and life. Someone gets thrown into the sea. In the end it comes to cannibalism. Of the 149 people survived 15. Géricault captures the moment when these lost all human people finally see on the horizon the saving ship.

To write the dead and half dead bodies – not an easy task, and géricault requires of his art truthfulness. He hates sitters, believes that posing is always unnatural and noticeable. Models him are friends. In addition, géricault visited the hospital where looking at dying, and mortuaries. There, he writes a shocking sketches depicting cut and piled in a heap, hands and even heads.

Biography Of Theodore Gericault: Part 5. Madman

"The raft of the Medusa" is also not appreciated by the French public. The picture contained a hidden accusation of the authorities, who sold the patent to sail to anybody in corruption, and were not conducive to official recognition. Géricault insanely worried. Someone advised him to show a picture in England. Indeed, in London to her impressive line up of the crowd. More than 50 thousand people have seen "the Raft of the Medusa", the critics saw géricault new word of French art, géricault and he conquered the art of English – primarily landscapes Constableand Turner.

In England géricault enjoys making lithographs, and the rest as usual – starts again scandalous Affairs with women older than themselves and writes of horses. About the first there was a certificate in the form of a letter by a friend: "One lady, not the first freshness, but still quite beautiful, hammered into his head that in love with me. God calls the painting – she must be good to love God..." The second – in the form of a famous painting "Derby at Epsom".

In 1821-m géricault returned to Paris, and his mental health is only getting worse. Watch it takes a prominent psychiatrist of his time, Etienne-Jean georget. He worked outside the salpêtrière, the Paris hospital for the insane, and, in addition to the treatment provided by the material for a remarkable series of portraits of the maniacs and crazy people that the artist will write before they die.

Biography Of Theodore Gericault: Part 6. "The rider named Death"

Rare Russian biography of géricault refuse to itself pleasure to underline that inveterate horse lover "took the death of his horse". All right. Only it wasn't sudden death, and stretching for a year and a half of targeted traffic to death.

30 years in mental anguish géricault worsened sciatica. Mindlessly throwing money, he squandered the parent state. His paintings did not sell. Beggars, vagrants, lunatics and even horses – they were useless. Géricault tried to invest balances in a small factory for the production of artificial diamonds, but failed. Faces complete ruin. What to look for consolation? Of course – in the race. In the spring of 1822 a horse at full gallop resets géricault, lost because of sciatica usual dexterity. He gets a back injury, decided on several complex operations and a year struggling with exhausting pain and the threat of immobility.

All this time by continuing to write, work on sketches for future large paintings, plans. Finally, he was again allowed to sit on a horse. Géricault's falling again, but refuses to treat the wound. 26 January 1824 he dies from sepsis before the age of 33. The death of the romantic artist – a bold gesture. And recognition will not tarry. In one of the obituaries the French call géricault "Michelangelo of our nation.".

Author: Anna Yesterday