(b. 1791, Rouen, d. 1824, Paris)

An Officer of the Chasseurs Commanding a Charge

Oil on canvas, 349 x 266 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

This was Géricault's first major work. The rider is turned round so far from the waist that the forward movement of the charging horse is exactly the opposite of the rider's gaze. The curving sabre underlines the turn of the body. The whole painting makes an immediate and spontaneous impression, with all its elements forming one dramatic whole.

The painting was commissioned by an officer who wanted to be represented in uniform, and Géricault created the supreme image of the wildly charging fighter. He won a medal for the painting in the Salon of 1812.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 12 minutes):
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: The Battle, suite