Theodore Gericault1791 - 1824
Born: September 26, 1791, Rouen, France
Died: January 26, 1824, Paris, France
Theodore Gericault's daring personality coupled with his tragically short life fit the mold for the Romantic artists of his era. After only three years of studio classes, most of his artistic training came from traveling to the Louvre and eventually to Rome, where he found inspiration in the master works of Rubens and Michelangelo. Gericault was intrigued by big cats and often used them in compositions to suggest the untamable power of nature, a recurrent theme in French romanticism. His dramatic and controversial paintings profoundly influenced nineteenth-century art. Gericault died in 1824, at the age of 32, after a prolonged illness caused by a riding accident. Because Gericault died at such a young age, his works are quite rare. Most of his work is in the Louvre, and there are only twenty-one Gericault images in American Museums, including Two Lions, After Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1820s, at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.