The Raft of the Medusa: Géricault, Art, and Race
Based on a controversial and politically charged event, The Raft of the Medusa is Gericault's most ambitious work. The painting depicts the wreck of a French government ship off the West African coast, and its passengers' desperate struggle to survive. Since its unveiling in 1819, this masterpiece has been both decried and admired for its unrelenting realism and for its unrelenting realism and for its ground-breaking portrayal of the ship's survivors. Here Alhadeff revises the standard reading of The Raft as a realistic depiction of a tragic event, highlighting instead the ambiguities Gericault has woven into the scene. These ambivalences, he argues, reveal as much about Gericault's artistic brilliance as they do about the advent of abolitionism in the turbulent society in which he lived.
Elegantly written and illustrated with many details from the painting as well as rarely seen comparative works, this is a provocative new look at a work which remains central to the history of modernity in art.
What people are saying - Write a review
aboard abolitionist Adolphe African Antoine Etex Argus barrel Batissier Bazin Beaux-Arts Benjamin Constant blacks Blanc Brisson Brunet Byron calenture castaways cault's Charles Blanc Chaumareys Chaumareys's cited Clarkson Clement color Constant Correard and Savigny Coutumes des Africains Daget detail of fig Durand edition Eitner English Engraving Equiano figure Fournier France French frigate la Meduse frontispiece Geri Gericault's canvas Gericault's castaways Gericault's oil Gericault's Raft Gericault's watercolor Giudicelly Gregoire Gregoire's Histoire horizon horrors Ibid illustration Jal's knew Kummer L'Afrique lafregate la Meduse lithograph Louvre Marine Medusa Michelet Moorish Moors Morenas Morenas's Motte Naufrage de lafregate Negro nude Observations Olaudah Equiano painting Paris plight published question quote rescue vessel role Saint-Louis Salon Sambadurand Savigny's scene Schmaltz seen semblable shipwreck sight slave ships slave trade studies figs surely survivors tells Theodore Gericault traite des Noirs Usages et Coutumes Vassa views Villeneuve Villeneuve's Voyage to Senegal watercolor fig whites Zaide Zaide's