Saturday, October 10, 2009

09/10 Academic Decathlon French Revolution Art Selection #10 - Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct

Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct, 1818, Théodore Gericault, Oil on canvas, 98 1/2 x 86 1/2 in. (250.2 x 219.7 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Géricault is considered to be one of the most important painters in the movement of Romanticism. He studied under Carle Vernet, but broke away from formal study, copying Renaissance and Baroque painters. He was an independent artist interested in exploring is own artistic vision. He worked across many genres and was not only a painter but a talented printmaker. He painted scenes of contemporary events as well as portraits, horses, genre scenes and landscapes. He died young, at age 32, after sustaining an injury and disease that rapidly shortened his life. One of his landmark paintings is the Raft of the Medusa.

Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct is one of his largest paintings. The scene is romantic, with its dramatically lit sky and grand view of river and the countryside. The Roman aqueduct is the focal point in the center of the composition - the sky is a dramatic backdrop highlighting this antiquity with its rounded arches. There are bathers in the foreground, but there seems to be no narrative that they are involved in save washing the dust off from their day. This painting seems to be nothing more than a glorious landscape, perhaps paying homage to the Roman aqueduct which could allude to the passage of time.

Check out the essay found on the Met's website about Romanticism.

Self portrait, 27 x 37 cm (10,6 x 14,5 inches), Oil on canvas

No comments: