Theodore Gericault

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9780714844008: Theodore Gericault

This new monograph explores the life and works of Theodore Gericault (1791-1824), whose compelling career and legacy continue to captivate audiences, artists, and critics alike. In her comprehensive survey, Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer pays tribute to established Gericault scholarship while reassessing the career of an artist too easily miscast as the archetypal 'tortured soul' of art-historical Romantic mythology. She examines Gericault's career in the context of France under the Restauration, during which Louis XVIII s controversial rule resulted in vigorous popular debate over civic structures, the political process, and even aesthetic categories. Gericault immersed himself in these polemics, taking an intense interest in the fait divers, or 'daily happenings', of his time. The author explores his interest in medical and psychiatric science (as exemplified by a series of portraits of mental patients), his empathy for the poor and dispossessed (the subject of numerous lithographs), and the entrepreneurial spirit that led him to exhibit his epic canvas, the Raft of the Medusa, in London as a commercial venture. Gericault is presented as an artist committed to capturing contemporary life with creative integrity and dramatic verve.

Born into a provincial middle-class family, Gericault used an inheritance from his mother's death to pursue his artistic vocation, training first under Vernet and Guerin before spending four years on his own course of independent study. His choice of Renaissance and Baroque masters such as Titian, Caravaggio, and Rubens as models shaped his aesthetic agenda and encouraged him to break away from the Neoclassicism favored by his early tutors. Further influenced by a vogue for modern, military subjects, Gericault presented himself at the 1812 Salon with the dashing Charging Chasseur, a critical success that the artist was unable to repeat when he presented again at the Salon three years later. A period of stylistic experimentation followed: Gericault traveled to Rome to absorb classical examples and strove to develop his 'grand' style. The effort spent in Rome served Gericault well when he returned to France and began work on the Raft of the Medusa, a politically charged project that absorbed the painter in obsessive study for more than a year. In her analysis of this enduring image, Athanassoglou-Kallmyer addresses the perception of Gericault as a tragic figure, drawn by temperament to the depiction of morbid and macabre themes, discussing this painting among others in the context of Romantic taste for the 'Gothic' and its political and artistic implications.

Gericault suffered a nervous breakdown in 1819, following the Medusa's disappointing reception at the Salon, and retreated to England, where he abandoned grand projects in favor of lighter, more fashionable work. It was not until 1823, on his deathbed, that Gericault's interest in large-scale work was revived and he produced a wealth of sketches for future compositions. These plans, full of energy and drama, serve to suggest why this immensely talented artist has continued to influence artists from the time of his death to the present.

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About the Author:

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); Eugene Delacroix: Prints, Politics, and Satire (Yale University Press, 1991); and Cezanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2003).

Review:

"The breadth and depth of the oeuvre of Theodore Gericault has been captured in this new volume by Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmayer... One of the most compelling features of the book is the way in which the author threads the shifting subjects of Gericault's art through the warp and weft of the political and social crises of France in the early 19th century."-The Art Newspaper "Handsomely produced... [An] important contribution to the vast literature on this complex and compelling artist... Extends the range of Gericault art-historical scholarship and interpretation... Selects judiciously from the range of new research to present Gericault as a 'pioneer modernist'... [An] engrossing account... With superb accompanying illustrations... Athanassoglou-Kallmyer's well-written volume is a comprehensive account which admirably combines some of the achievements of earlier scholarship with the most recent developments in Gericault studies."-The Burlington Magazine "Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer has digested recent scholarship and integrated it into a flowing narrative covering the artist's life and art... Describes Gericault's art and explains the motivations behind the artist very well. It also sets these in context while not overwhelming the reader with too much detail... For anyone already with an interest in Gericault this book makes an excellent survey."-Cassone.com

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Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer
Verlag: Phaidon Press (2009)
ISBN 10: 0714844004 ISBN 13: 9780714844008
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Buchbeschreibung Phaidon Press, 2009. Gebundene Ausgabe. Buchzustand: Neu. Neu Neuware, Importqualität, auf Lager, Sofortversand - This monograph explores the life and works of Théodore Géricault (1791 - 1824), whose compelling career and legacy continue to captivate audiences, artists, and critics alike. In her comprehensive survey, Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer pays tribute to established Géricault scholarship while reassessing the career of an artist too easily miscast as the archetypal 'tortured soul' of art-historical Romantic mythology. She examines Géricault's career in the context of France under the Restauration, during which Louis XVIII's controversial rule resulted in vigorous popular debate over civic structures, the political process, and even aesthetic categories. Géricault immersed himself in these polemics, taking an intense interest in the fait divers, or 'daily happenings', of his time. The author explores his interest in medical and psychiatric science (as exemplified by a series of portraits of mental patients), his empathy for the poor and dispossessed (the subject of numerous lithographs), and the entrepreneurial spirit that led him to exhibit his epic canvas, the 'Raft of the Medusa', in London as a commercial venture. Géricault is presented as an artist committed to capturing contemporary life with creative integrity and dramatic verve. 240 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. INF1000372625

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