This week marks the 200th anniversary of Géricault’s death – join us as we explore his most famous and powerful work, The Raft of the Medusa, with Art History in Focus director, Siân Walters.
In the summer of 1816 the naval frigate Méduse, the flagship of a prestigious French expedition to repossess the colony of Senegal from the British, ran aground off the coast of West Africa. Commanded by an incompetent captain, the frigate was evacuated into a series of lifeboats, but those who could not fit in were forced to seek refuge on a makeshift raft, which was then abandoned mid-ocean. The 147 people left behind were then carried to the very boundaries of human experience, finding themselves open to the elements, with no navigational equipment or oars, few rations and little hope of rescue. It is one of the most dramatic, tragic and shocking events of 19th century French history, and which in particular made a deep impression on the young artist Théodore Géricault (1791–1824) who set out to recreate the horror of the events in painting. The result was a giant canvas – an uncommissioned work which became a turning point in Géricault’s career, and which is now considered one of the most important paintings in the early history of the Romantic movement.
This is a live-streamed lecture at 6.00pm (UK time). It will last approximately one hour including Q&A. Tune in live from anywhere in the world, or if you cannot participate live, you will automatically be sent a recording soon after the end of the session enabling you to watch later that day or during the following 2 days. Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live, and it is not possible to purchase a recording after booking has closed.
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Bookings close the day before the event is streamed.