“I have tried to bring together . . . what is now known about Géricault, dealing with his life and work in one continuous narrative, and putting the emphasis strongly on his artistic development . . . . Tracing the general line of his development and reconstructing the evolution of his main projects, I have searched the evidence of his artistic practice for clues to his habit of mind, his methods of work, and, ultimately, to his personality of which the written sources tell us so little.” The exemplary clarity, the bon ton, of Lorenz Eitner’s book on Géricault—its decorum fastidiously distant from the disingenuous and space-filling jargon that disfigures much modern art-historical scholarship—echo those of his urbane predecessor, Charles Clément, who wrote the first scholarly biography of Géricault in 1867. To read Clément is as steadying an experience as...


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