Mar 24, 2015

Return from Russia

Return from Russia

c. 1818

Théodore Géricault

(French, 1791-1824)

Lithograph printed in black and ochre with watercolor added by hand

Border: 44.4 x 36.4 cm (17 1/2 x 14 5/16 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1931.48

Catalogue raisonné: Delteil vol. 18, no.13

State: III/VI



Géricault was a marvelous lithographer who realized the potential of the medium. Two stones were used to print this image—one for the design printed in black and the other to create the broad areas of tone printed in ocher. This is one of the earliest French lithographs in which a second color is somewhat integrated into the image instead of just being used for the overall background. Géricault added white watercolor to indicate snow on the lower portion of the scene. Unlike other artists who glorified the Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815), Gericault portrayed a realistic image of the misery and horrors of combat. This scene of two wounded soldiers and exhausted, starving animals is a powerful statement of the pitiful conditions following Napoleon's defeat by the Russians.

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