Two Days Until Medusa Tells the Real Story. Featuring May Yang. Edited by Kevin Shipp, Produced by Kenny Schick Keep your eyes on this page!
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The Raft of the Medusa—a major work in French h-century painting—is generally regarded as an icon of Romanticism. It depicts an event whose human and political aspects greatly interested Gericault: the wreck of a French frigate off the coast of Senegal in 1816, with over 150 soldiers on board. The painter researched the story in detail and made numerous sketches before deciding on his definitive composition, which illustrates the hope of rescue. Gericault drew his inspiration from the account of two survivors of the Medusa—a French Royal Navy frigate that set sail in 1816 to colonize Senegal. It was captained by an officer of the Ancien Regime who had not sailed for over twenty years and who ran the ship aground on a sandbank. Due to the shortage of lifeboats, those who were left behind had to build a raft for 150 souls—a construction that drifted away on a bloody 13-day odyssey that was to save only 10 lives. The disaster of the shipwreck was made worse by the brutality and cannibalism that ensued.