Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault was a French painter, draughtsman, lithographer and sculptor. He was born into a provincial middle-class family. His mother died in 1808.
Géricault received his artistic education in the studios of Carle Vernet and Pierre Guérin, and in the galleries of the Louvre. Reacting against the classicism of David, and influenced by the modernity of Gros and the colouring of Rubens, he sought a new painterly and dramatic approach to history painting, as is evident from his début picture at the Salon Charging Chasseur (1812; Louvre). However, the work which caused a sensation was his Raft of the Medusa, exhibited at the 1819 Salon (Louvre). This monumental work radically used the exalted language of academic tradition to create a work that spoke of humanity's bestiality.
Clément, Géricault: Etude biographique et critique, Paris, 1868; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Eitner, L., Géricault: His Life and Work, London, 1983; Bazin, G., Théodore Géricault: Etude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, 6 vols, Paris, 1987-94; Eitner, Lorenz, '(Jean-Louis-André-)Théodore Géricault', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 8 March 2002).