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Gericault was an artist who at the age of twenty five, went to Italy to have further studies in art. While in Italy, his paintings were influenced by the Italian masters as well as Peter Paul Reuben who was a Flemish painter. Gericault then became the leader of the romantics. He had his paintings exhibiting dramatic action as well as powerful emotions. This is portrayed in his famous painting The raft of the Medusa.

The artist makes use of shade and dark colors to exhibit the somber mood of the scene. Several colors; brown, black and deep red are used in the painting. The artist also makes use of light persuasively. He uses a peculiar white light to highlight the starving bodies in the painting. Alhadeff, Albert  (2002).  The corpses on the raft are given odd shadows by the approaching storm.  It is this shadow and light that add drama to the painting.

The artist is also able to use line for purposes of influencing the viewer’s emotional response. In the painting, The Raft of the Medusa, Gericault is portrays mayhem that is caused by the splashing waves. He does this by the use of the short brush strokes in the water.  Viewers of the painting are able to connect with the painting and have a somewhat feeling of how the real accident took place.  The essence of the rafters is also captured in the painting. This is done by looking for the real survivors of the raft and painting them hence using line to portray how the accident took place. The use of line is also portrayed in the sketching of the dying men who were in hospitals.


Alhadeff, Albert (2002) The Raft of the Medusa: Gericault, Art, and Race: London. 

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