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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V11, Page 768 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN LOUIS ANDRE THEODORE GERICAULT (1791-1824), French painter, the leader of the French realistic school, was born at Rouen in 1791. In 18o8 he entered the studio of Charles Vernet, from which, in 181o, he passed to that of Guerin, whom he drove to despair by his passion for Rubens, and by the unorthodox manner in which he persisted in interpreting nature. At the Salon of 1812 Gericault attracted attention by his "Officier de Chasseurs a Cheval " (Louvre), a work in which he personified the cavalry in its hour of triumph, and turned to account the solid training received from Guerin in rendering a picturesque point of view which was in itself a protest against the cherished convictions of the pseudo-classical school. Two years later (1814) he re-exhibited this work accompanied with the reverse picture " Cuirassier blesse " (Louvre), and in both subjects called attention to the interest of contemporary aspects of life, treated neglected types of living form, and exhibited that mastery of and delight in the horse which was a feature of his character. Disconcerted by the tempest of contradictory opinion which arose over these two pictures, Gericault gave way to his enthusiasm for horses and soldiers, and enrolled himself in the mousquetaires. During the Hundred Days he followed the king to Bethune, but, on his regiment being disbanded, eagerly returned to his profession, left France for Italy in 1816, and at Rome nobly illustrated his favourite animal by his great painting " Course des Chevaux Libres." Returning to Paris, Gericault exhibited at the Salon of 1819 the "Radeau de la Meduse " (Louvre), a subject which not only enabled him to prove his zealous and scientific study of the human form, but contained those elements of the heroic and pathetic, as existing in situations of modern life, to which he had appealed in his earliest productions. Easily depressed or elated, Gericault took to heart the hostility which this work excited, and passed nearly two years in London, where the " Radeau " was exhibited with success, and where he executed many series of admirable lithographs now rare. At the close of 1822 he was again in Paris, and produced a great quantity of projects for vast compositions, models in wax, and a horse ecorche, as preliminary to the production of an equestrian statue. His health was now completely undermined by various kinds of excess, and on the 26th of January 1824 he died, at the age of thirty-three. Gericault's biography, accompanied by a catalogue raisonne of his works, was published by M. C. Clement in 1868. a minuteness of detail that had never before been approached. The Meditationes sacrae (1606), a work expressly devoted to the uses of Christian edification, has been frequently reprinted in Latin and has been translated into most of the European languages, including Greek. The English translation by R. Winterton (1631) has passed through at least nineteen editions. There is also an edition by W. Papillon in English blank verse (i8o1). His life, Vita Joh. Gerhardi, was published by E. R. Fischer in 1723, and by C. J. Bottcher, Das Leben Dr Johann Gerhards, in 1858. See also W. Gass, Geschichte der protestantischen Dogmatik (1854-1867), and the article in the Allgemeine deutsche Biographie.
PAUL GERHARDT (c. 1606–1676)

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