Author(s): ARABELLA EDGE
When the French painter Th odore G ricault died in 1824 at the age of thirty-three, he was mourned as one of the most promising artists of his generation. He was also one of the most controversial, endowed with a character marked by Byronic paradoxes. The cult of G ricault's personality cast him as "genius, athlete, martyr, and romantic ghoul." Indeed, it was the stinging aftermath of an illicit affair with his beautiful young aunt that propelled G ricault into the artistic obsession that would yield his masterwork, The Raft of the Medusa. The God of Spring opens in Paris in 1818, as the upheavals of the French Revolution, the Empire, and the Restoration come to fruition in the aftermath of a naval disaster caused by criminal negligence and tinged with political scandal. Mesmerized by the tales of betrayal, madness, murder, and cannibalism aboard the life raft of the scuttled French frigate Medusa, G ricault takes as his muses two of its survivors. His canvas pits man against nature, its dominant image a doomed sailor futilely raising his hand toward the clouds and salvation.
2005. First edition. A trade paperback copy in very good condition.