• Tokyo-Paris: Two LDMLs
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Chronologie de gericault Historical chronology
1789 Beginning of the French Revolution. Overthrow of the monarchy and proclamation of the Republic in 1792. King Louis XVI is executed on January 21, 1793.
1791 Birth of Théodore Géricault in Rouen, on September 26, 1791. In 1796, the Géricault family moves to Paris.
1799 Coup d’état of General Bonaparte in November (18 Brumaire). The Consulate is established.
1804 Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed emperor of the French in May and is crowned on December 2. The Empire lasts until 1814.
1808 Géricault’s mother dies and he inherits her fortune. He enters the studio of painter Carle Vernet, who specializes in painting horses. He becomes friends with the master’s son, the future Romantic painter Horace Vernet (1789–1863). In 1810, Géricault joins the studio of the history painter Pierre-Narcisse Guérin. There he comes into contact with Ary Scheffer and later Eugène Delacroix. While he is pursuing his academic training, he develops a love of horses, which he draws at the imperial stables in Versailles.
1811 In parallel with the teaching he receives from Guérin, Géricault studies at the École des Beaux-Arts. He also copies canvases by the Old Masters at the Musée du Louvre. By nature impulsive, he is expelled from the museum on two occasions for bad behavior. That same year, the young artist is called up to serve in the imperial army. To avoid serving, Géricault solicits the help of his father, who pays someone to replace him. His replacement, Claude Petit, would be killed in action on February 14, 1812.
1812 After inheriting some of his grandmother’s property, Géricault becomes financially independent. At the Salon of 1812, he exhibits an equestrian portrait, The Charging Chasseur (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which enjoys some success. In 1814, The Wounded Cuirassier Leaving the Field of Battle (Musée du Louvre, Paris), his second work to be exhibited at the Salon, is widely criticized. At the beginning of the First Restoration, he joins the national guard for a while, becoming one of King Louis XVIII’s musketeers.
1814 Abdication of Napoleon. King Louis XVIII enters Paris. Reestablishment of the monarchy (First Restoration).
1815 Return of Napoleon I. He reigns for one hundred days. Defeated at Waterloo, Napoleon abdicates a second time. Return of Louis XVIII to Paris. Second Restoration, which lasts until 1829.
1816 Géricault fails in his attempt to take part in the Prix de Rome. As a result, he decides to go to Italy, first to Florence and then to Rome, where he visits Ingres and admires the work of Michelangelo.
1818 Back in Paris, Géricault starts work on the famous Raft of the Medusa (Musée du Louvre, Paris). It would take him more than a year to complete preparatory studies on the theme. The large canvas would eventually be exhibited at the 1819 Salon under the title Shipwreck Scene. The subject, based on a contemporary event treated on a huge scale traditionally reserved for history paintings, runs counter to conventional practice. The morbid realism of the bodies of the shipwrecked takes critics by surprise. It receives a mixed reception. In addition to working on his painting, the artist paints a number of scenes from military life and the Napoleonic campaigns, which are depicted with stark realism. These include Retreat from Russia, Cart Loaded with Wounded Soldiers, and The Artillery Caisson.
1820 In April Géricault travels to England. He accompanies The Raft of the Medusa, which is presented to the public in London. The painter meets Constable and is commissioned to paint a horse race, The Epsom Downs Derby (Musée du Louvre, Paris). He then goes to visit David, who has been exiled to Brussels, returning to London in 1821. He works at this time on a series of lithographs published under the title of Various Subjects Drawn from Life on Stone. Out of the twelve prints created, nine are on the theme of the horse and three are London street scenes.
1822 Géricault paints a series of portraits of monomaniacs, of which only five have survived. He works on preliminary studies for two large compositions on contemporary themes that are never executed: The Opening of the Doors of the Spanish Inquisition and The African Slave Trade. Géricault also executes several small canvases and a large number of lithographs on equestrian subjects intended to be produced in large numbers. In the spring, three falls damage his health. In August 1823, his stockbroker becomes bankrupt, leading to his financial ruin.
1824 Suffering from a lesion of the spinal cord, Géricault dies at the age of 32, on January 26. One year later, the government buys The Raft of the Medusa, which until then had been without a buyer.
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