A new monograph exploring the life and works of Theodore Gericault (1791-1824), an artist whose life, imagination and legacy continue to enthrall audiences, artists and critics alike.
Gericault's small but varied oeuvre has consistently defied easy definition; the artist himself struggled throughout his short career with the conflicting demands of the grand Neo-classical style and radical Romanticism. He was drawn to subjects of drama and horror, painting gruesome scenes of life in France as Napoleon's Empire ceded to a restored Monarchy - few more shocking than the cannibalism among shipwrecked victims that inspired his masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa.Yet equally significant in his artistic production was a passion for the wild imagery of horses, which even dictated his choice of painting teacher and led to some of the greatest equestrian portraits and history paintings in French art. Gericault also took great interest in the depths of the human mind, which inspired his riveting portraits.
In this incisive and comprehensive survey, Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer pays tribute to established Gericault scholarship, but also reassesses the career of an artist too easily miscast as the archetypal `tortured soul' of art-historical Romantic mythology. Athanassoglou-Kallmyer discusses all the artist's key paintings and drawings, with particular attention to the iconic Raft of the Medusa, the history of its production and its artistic afterlife up to the present day.
Born in Athens, Greece, and trained as an art historian at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and Princeton University, Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer previously taught at the University of Maryland and the University of Chicago and is currently Professor of Art History, University of Delaware. She has published extensively on French nineteenth-century art, including essays on Gericault, Horace Vernet, Delacroix, and Cezanne, and three books: French Images from the Greek War of Independence. Art and Politics under the Restoration (Yale University Press, 1989), which was a runner up for the CINOA award; Eugene Delacroix. Prints, Politics and Satire (Yale University Press, 1991); and Cezanne and Provence. The Painter in his Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2003), which was a finalist for the CAA's W.O. Mitchell Prize. She is the recipient of the CAA's Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize, and of numerous grants and fellowships including a J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship, a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.