Free Horse Race in Rome - Theodore Gericault. 45 x 60 cm
Gericault arrives in Italy in a very gloomy mood - after Waterloo in France, the Bourbons return to power, and now Napoleon's supporters suffer persecution. The mood of French society leaves much to be desired. Someone hastily immigrated, someone hid, someone managed to be executed.
In 1816, Gericault visited Rome. Here he visits museums, copies great painters and becomes a witness to the Roman carnival. As part of the holiday, races were organized on Corso Street, where free horses (without harness) took part.
The painter was most impressed by the start, or rather the second in front of him. Gericault already adored horses, and then he saw in their wild guise - strong horses tried to get ahead, strong young guys barely held them. This power was almost impossible to curb. The delighted master immediately conceived a picture where this irreconcilable struggle of an animal and a man would be embodied.
But at first, dozens of sketches were made, the composition was thought out and then meticulously transferred to the canvas. We see a mixture of human bodies and horse bodies. They are united by strength and muscles. Another second and the horses will break loose, rushing along the street, overtaking each other.
The author uses mainly dark color, resorting to a favorite trick - contrasting highlighting of areas, thus placing emphasis.
The composition is complex. Gericault skillfully and harmoniously combines majestic architectural elements, moreover, on different planes (middle and far), people and animal heroes, written in a dynamic manner.
This is some kind of evil irony of fate: it was they who destroyed the artist who admired the horses and sang them in his paintings. The awkward horse threw off the rider, and Gericault received a serious spinal injury, which, ultimately, immobilized him and led to an early death. The romantic artist died at 33 ...