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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

The Raft of the Medusa

Gericault

1819

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The Raft of the Medusa is massive, measuring a whopping 5 x 7m.

It's considered a masterpiece of the Romantic movement.

The painting was inspired by a true story.

In 1816, a French ship sailed off the coast of France, heading to Senegal.

However, 100 km away from the Senegalese coast, it hit a sand bank and sunk.

About half of the 400 crew scrambled onto a makeshift raft.

But 2 weeks later, only 15 were still alive.

There were horrific tales of starvation and cannibalism, which fascinated Parisian society.

As a Romantic, Gericault saw his role as provoking strong, raw emotions.

The story of the Medusa was a perfect topic.