Legacy In Art And Politics Essay

& # 8217 ; s Raft-as Legacy In Art And Politics Essay, Research PaperTheodore Gericault & # 8217 ; s greatest bequest as an creative person is doubtless his Raft of the Medusa, completed in 1819. The picture is the comprehensive consequence of experiments with a assortment of signifiers and manners ; it marks the culmination of Gericault & # 8217 ; s calling.

Beautiful and atrocious, incidental and omnipresent, monumental without a specific hero, The Raft of the Medusa was to the Salon of 1819 a complete paradox. The picture & # 8217 ; s first critics were divided in their appraisals by their political and artistic political orientations. Some critics at the picture & # 8217 ; s initial expounding desired a image more blazing in societal unfavorable judgment while others felt that the picture derided the really nationalism they felt needed protection. Artistically excessively Gericault & # 8217 ; s masterwork was found to be an mystery. He followed no artistic school coherently and attempted a merger of kinds that was unprecedented in his twenty-four hours.

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While such attempts did non popularise him with his Romantic coevalss, Gericault & # 8217 ; s Raft of the Medusa markedly began a new era in the development of art, that of invention. Through his alone merger of capable affair, contradictory manners, and the catholicity of his subject Gericault has produced in The Raft of the Medusa an built-in portion of art history.Though ab initio Gericault may hold been enticed by the political contention of his topic, the subject of the picture did non compare that subject a polemist would hold chosen ( Eitner 52 ) . The picture depicts the existent calamity of the Gallic frigate, the Medusa, which three old ages earlier had foundered off the West seashore of Africa.

One hundred and 50s of the work forces on the ship had been forced to board an unequal stopgap raft and were abandoned. For over two hebdomads the work forces were at sea. There they faced inclement conditions, mutinous happenings, the effects of famishment, and cannibalism. Of the one hundred and fifty, merely 15 would last the ordeal. The political deductions were that the ship & # 8217 ; s Captain should non hold been chosen for such a demanding occupation ; the deficiency of virtue had resulted in the ship & # 8217 ; s tragic destiny. Edward Lucie-Smith refers to the picture as & # 8220 ; a barbarian unfavorable judgment of the corruptness and sloth of the Restoration government.

& # 8221 ; While such appraisal mirrors the original unfavorable judgment monarchists conferred upon the image, it does non account for The Raft of the Medusa & # 8217 ; s development of topics that Lorenz Eitner studies Gericault discarded before eventually settling on what was the least violative, The sighting of the Argus ( 23 ) . The fact that Gericault sought a authorities award for the Medusa besides suggests that he did non expect any governmental resistance from its functionaries or steadfast protagonists ( Eitner 53 ) . It is dry to observe that the societal critics of his twenty-four hours chastised The Raft of the Medusa for non being straight critical plenty. In avoiding the marks and mottos of his twenty-four hours, Gericault obscured the polemic point of the picture ( Eitner 52 ) .Such argument over the ambiguity of messages in political purpose correlated to the similar statements refering Gericault & # 8217 ; s influences in the picture of The Raft of the Medusa. Here Gericault notably deviated from the conventional manners extant and, in making so, emerged with a manner unambiguously his ain. Gericault’s involvement in the expansive plants of Michaelangelo appears to hold most significantly affected the graduated table with which he worked ( The Raft of the Medusa ) . The size of the image is that of existent life, a graduated table reserved non for newspaper studies but for “general involvement such as a national jubilation, a great triumph, or one of those cases of empyreal selflessness that are the glorification of faith and patriotism” ( Eitner 51 ) .

The construction of the work forces on the raft is non shaped traditionally so that there is a cardinal figure in the picture ; instead there be two: the Negro beckoning the flag and the mast of the raft. Such complexness of construction may be accredited to the Romantics, with Delacroix, Goya, and Turner, among others flinging the past insisting upon subscription to formulaic construction. The influence of colour can be found in Carravagio’s school of picture. The somber, monochrome, and earthen sunglassess add to the Baroque dramatic pragmatism that Gericault enjoyed.Gericault had visited the picture manners of Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, the Baroque, and the Renaissance. He saw things that he appreciated and things that he did non. Of the former batch he took the lucidity, the pragmatism, the magnificence, the focal point on the modern-day and the dramatic and gave them a personal spin ( Eitner 54 ) .

Of the latter Gericault discarded the artificial ruse of over conventionalized art, the inclination towards pettiness that Romantic art possessed. What he was left with, the qualities that the painting itself embodies, can be explicated as a monumental word picture of a modern-day happening that intimate a cosmopolitan experience in the picture & # 8217 ; s subject, agony.Gericault ab initio began his work in the mode that a newsman might seek out a narrative. That is he sought nil but the cold difficult facts.

The Raft of the Medusa was originally intended to convey nil but ocular truth ( Eitner 55 ) . However when faced with such facts his initial purpose was low-level to the stronger desire to arouse a greater truth. The greater truth was a aspect of humanity that is built-in in every coevals, an facet that arouses empathy and compassion because all worlds have felt a shadiness of it at one clip or another. That truth is enduring. The Raft of the Medusa & # 8217 ; s agony had reverberations that have echoed far longer than that of any political docket.In drumhead, Gericault & # 8217 ; s Raft of the Medusa is an experiment in virtuosity that has yielded far greater consequences than the creative person of all time imagined. The inflexible attachment to his ain theory, subject, and principal has allowed Gericault to procure for himself a topographic point in history that will non easy be forgotten.

He abandoned the traditional conventions of his twenty-four hours, the formulaic art of the yesteryear, and the requirements for capable affair that had antecedently controlled all artistic enterprises. The consequence was a consummate composing that reflects non merely on the radical temper of Gericault & # 8217 ; s clip but on the nonnatural component that pervades clip itself.Eitner, Lorenz. & # 8220 ; Gericault & # 8217 ; s Raft of the Medusa.

& # 8221 ; 1972, Phaidon.


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