Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault
Why we love it
The Raft of the Medusa is one of the star works of the Louvre museum, a huge painting, due to its size and its subject, which is so current today.
It represents the aftermath of the sinking of the French naval frigate Méduse, a fact that became an international shameful scandal, as at least 147 people were adrift on a small raft; all but 15 died, and those who survived suffered from hunger and dehydration and even practiced cannibalism.
To carry out the work, Géricault was informed in the newspapers of the time, he interviewed the survivors, studied the effects of death with real bodies, even had a model of the raft built; but all these are details compared to the true speech of the work that speaks of death and hope, of surviving on the edge of human experience, and of the incompetence and neglect of governments that look the other way, something that we are seeing in the 21st century about the migratory drama that is lived daily in the world.
The philosopher and politician Ernst Fischer tells us about the need for art so that man can know and change the world.
We can admire the immensity of the work in the Louvre, but we have to feel that the water splashes us.
“In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it.” –Ernst Fischer