(b. 1795, Dordrecht, d. 1858, Argenteuil)

The Death of Géricault

Oil on canvas, 36 x 46 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Géricault's death at the age of thirty-three came about as a result of an infection following a riding accident, but the circumstances were never satisfactorily explained, and Géricault was thought to have neglected various ailments from which he was already suffering, and even to have attempted suicide. He had struggled to win artistic recognition, and there seemed a tragic inevitability about his end. It was fitting that the Salon of 1824 - often called the 'Romantic' Salon for including so many icons of the movement - should also have contained the moving memorial to Géricault painted by Ary Scheffer. Mourned by his friends, the painter lies on his deathbed in his small room in the rue des Martyrs, his favourite sketches and pictures on the wall above - indeed a martyr to art.