Painting in Focus: Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa

Monday 22nd January 6.00PM GMT


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.

Booking closes the day before the event is streamed. Please refer to the Further Information panel below.

Further Information

1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book Now” button, fill in the online booking form and pay online. You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The participation fee is £10 per person, if making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses when booking them as separate participants.


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You will receive an email approximately 24-48 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will automatically receive the Zoom log in link both on your screen and by email, please keep this safe.

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items’ and ‘junk mail’ folders or click here for advice.


Join the event a few minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You do not need to advise us if you can’t participate live, don’t worry! You will be contacted soon after the event has been broadcast with instructions on how to access the recording. This will be available to watch on catch up later that day and for 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.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each event that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don’t worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you a recording.

Bookings close the day before the event is streamed.

Image: Théodore Géricault, Raft of the Medusa, 1818–19. Musée du Louvre, Paris