Monday, March 26, 2012

WEEK 11: The Artist's (severed) Left Hand

 A few months back I read an article in Artist's Magazine tucked way in the back. Theodore Gericault was truly an incredible artist. His depiction of survivors of shipwreck in The Raft of the Medusa, is both beautiful and disturbing. His series of portraits of the mentally insane captures that certain gleam in the eye, one I've seen on a few occasions, that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Gericault was described as both "manically creative and recklessly self-destructive" and suffered with deep bouts of depression. But his mastery over painting earned him the title of the progenitor of French Romanticism.
 However, on the disturbing side....While working in preparation for The Raft, it was reported that Gericault was prone to smuggling corpses and severed body parts into his studio. The man got into his work, an artistic amalgamation of Edgar Allen Poe and Victor Frankenstein. One of his last works..or maybe it was his last, was of his left hand. Illustrated in watercolor and while bedridden, Gericault worked until the bitter end passing away at the age of only 33.  His story was both inspirational times, just downright creepy. Which left me with this. My version done in pencil, bic pen, ink washes, white paint marker and red ink at 8 1/2 x 11 bogus paper. That's right...bogus.


  1. Ahh man Gericault! His portraits of the insane are some of my foremost memories of Art History class but I had never heard the hand story. SO not only do I get to look at a damn good hand drawing I get to learn some history!

  2. Dumas was actually at his bedside while he painted his left hand portrait. Noting that the artist body was so frail that you could see the bones and tissue through his skin. But when you see the piece, his hand still has a powerful strong look to it.

  3. Gotta love that Bogus paper, very nice drawing, "The Raft of the Medusa" was always a favorite of mine.