Artist: Horace Vernet (French, Paris 1789–1863 Paris)
Date: probably 1822 or 1823
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 18 5/8 x 15 1/8 in. (47.3 x 38.4 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Gift of Joanne Toor Cummings, by exchange, 1998
Accession Number: 1998.84
In the early 1820s, Parisian critics were hard pressed to decide which young painter held greater promise, Vernet or his close friend—and friendly rival—Gericault. This work shows Gericault as a Romantic artist, a type that had recently come into being based on Lord Byron's example. He is depicted deep in thought and possibly suffering physically as well. It was probably painted when Gericault was stricken with the disease that claimed his life in 1824. In a lithograph made by Vernet in 1823, Gericault wears the same scarf on his head.