We don’t know if Théodore Géricault (b. 1791, Rouen) was aware that The Raft of the Medusa was to be his absolute masterpiece. What we do know, is that he was obsessive in his fascination for the disaster. These detailed studies in pencil and ink demonstrate how fastidious he was in his preparations. He talked with survivors, had a huge replica of the raft built, and studied actual bodies and body parts in order to represent the incidents as accurately as possible.
Étude pour le fils mort dans Le Radeau de la Méduse, 1818-1819
Crédit Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille - cliché Jean-Marie Dautel.