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Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent opens exhibition of the work of Théodore Géricault
Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, the Argus View), 1818-19. Brown ink on paper, 21 x 26.8 cm Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts© RMN – Grand Palais | Philippe Bernard, Paris.
GHENT.- In 1908, the Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent acquired a painting by Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) for a bargain price at a Parisian auction. Entitled The Mad Murderer, the local press speculated at the time as to who would be fool enough to hang such a picture in his living room! The painting – which in fact depicts a kleptomaniac – forms part of a series of portraits that Géricault painted of mentally ill patients in the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris. These include, amongst others, Portrait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon) and Portrait of a Kidnapper (Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts).

In 1819, Théodore Géricault presented his large historic painting, The Raft of the Medusa, which elicited public admiration but also repelled many precisely because of the tragic circumstances in which the ship sank. Moreover, the canvas denounced the government’s political bungling, which did not sit well at all with the existing powers. Géricault’s monumental composition represented a new direction in painting and sounds more contemporary than ever as it echoes recent events around Lampedusa.

Soon after, Géricault produced a series of portraits of mental patients, deciding to abandon the conventional ways of depicting madness and rather highlighting the personality and humanity of his subjects. The exhibition aims to show that far from being a painter of tragic and insane subjects, Géricault, above all, desired to represent the margins of everyday life with a profound empathy and compassion for the protagonists of his paintings.

Various international museums have also lent their paintings, drawings and prints by Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Francisco Goya, Johan Heinrich Füssli and Adolf Friedrich Menzel for this exhibition, allowing us to examine the artist’s work in a broader context.

The exhibition, which is organised in partnership with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, was made possible by exceptional loans from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (ENSBA) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. The exhibition will run at the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent from 21 February to 26 May 2014.

The ‘petticoats’ of the Revolution
A small, related exhibition examines the role of women during the French Revolution. The art historical figure of Marianne is not just representative of the young French republic and freedom. Neither idealised nor allegorical, she really existed, her likeness having been modelled upon those of an everyday beauty. Women fought just as hard as men in the revolutionary army. A few even succeeded in playing a political role, although their fate was often pitiable. Take, for example, Théroigne de Méricourt, a freedom fighter who stood on the barricades in 1792 and, declared ‘insane’, was locked up in La Salpêtrière. The so-called ‘Hyena’, who was painted by Géricault, suffered the same fate and died in the hospital twenty years later.





Today's News

February 24, 2014

BOZAR presents a major survey of Belgian artist Michaël Borremans' work

Legendary 700-year-old tea jar "Chigusa" on display at the Smithsonian's Sackler Gallery

Chinese art through the eye of Sakamoto Goro: Sotheby's to offer a bronze owl

Blanton exhibition sheds new light on art and lives of artists Eva Hesse and Sol Lewitt

Art Institute is final venue for the critically acclaimed Christopher Wool exhibition

A collection of Gold Sovereigns that spans 525 years to be offered at A. H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd.

Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent opens exhibition of the work of Théodore Géricault

Retrospective of realist painter Eugene Speicher opens at The Dorsky Museum at the State University of New York

Extensive retrospective of Berlin based artist Dorothy Iannone opens at The Berlinische Galerie

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum welcomes the world's first major exhibition exploring yoga

Franz Erhard Walther's largest retrospective exhibitions to date opens at Wiels

"From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith" opens at the Cincinnati Art Museum

"Designed for Flowers" exhibition celebrates many of Japan's greatest contemporary ceramic artists

Exhibition of new paintings and drawings by artist Laura Watt opens at McKenzie Fine Art

Racine Art Museum debuts prints by ceramicist Frank Boyden

German painter Robert Janitz opens exhibition at Team Gallery

Paddle8 presents art auction for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation

Spool: Andrew Graves, Marco Palmieri, and Neil Rumming exhibit at Ana Cristea Gallery

19th century French book on Russian customs to be offered at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

Solo exhibition of works by Andy Hall opens at Jack Geary

bitforms gallery opens its first exhibition with Austrian artist Erwin Redl

Dayton Art Institute features contemporary still-life paintings of Isabella Kirkland

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