The Raft of the Medusa is an oil painting of 1818–19 by the French
Romantic painter and lithographer Théodore Géricault (1791–1824).
Completed when the artist was just 27, the work has become an icon of
French Romanticism. At 491 cm × 716 cm (193.3 in × 282.3 in), The Raft
of the Medusa is an over-life-size painting that depicts a moment from
the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which
ran aground off the coast of today's Mauritania on July 5, 1816. At
least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all
but 15 of them died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who
survived endured starvation, dehydration, cannibalism and madness. In
choosing the tragedy as subject matter for his first major work—an
uncommissioned depiction of an event from recent history—Géricault
consciously selected a well-known incident that would generate great
public interest and help launch his career. The event fascinated the
young artist, and before he began work on the final painting, he
undertook extensive research and produced many preparatory sketches. He
interviewed two of the survivors, and constructed a detailed scale
model of the raft. The painting proved highly controversial at its
first appearance in the 1819 Paris Salon, attracting passionate praise
and condemnation in equal measure. However, it established his
international reputation, and today is widely seen as seminal in the
early history of the Romantic movement in French painting.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The Charter of the Virginia Company of London was established by Royal
Charter by King James I of England with the purpose of establishing
colonial settlements in North America.
War of the Austrian Succession: Prussia defeated Austria at the Battle
of Mollwitz in present-day Małujowice, Poland, cementing Prussian King
Frederick II's authority over the newly conquered territory of Silesia.
Mount Tambora in Indonesia began one of the most violent volcanic
eruptions in recorded history, killing at least 71,000 people.
Mexican Revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata was shot to death near
Ciudad Ayala, Morelos.
The Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom signed the Belfast
Agreement in Belfast, a major step in the Northern Ireland peace
Wiktionary's word of the day:
(chess) An arrangement of pieces used by two players to start a game
because their usual play inevitably leads to it
Wikiquote quote of the day:
They knew me from the dawn of time: if Hermes beats his rainbow wings,
If Angus shakes his locks of light, or golden-haired Apollo sings,
It matters not the name, the land; my joy in all the gods abides:
Even in the cricket in the grass some dimness of me smiles and hides.
--George William Russell
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