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Théodore Géricault
The Raft of the Medusa
Louvre Museum
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by Donald Kuspit

Writing about his contemporary Delacroix, whom he linked with Rubens, Raphael, Veronese, Lebrun and David -- "the rare elect" or "beacons" -- Baudelaire celebrated their "love of the great, the national, the immense and the universal -- a love which has always expressed itself in the kind of painting. . . known as great machines." "Many others. . . have painted great machines," Baudelaire adds, but those masters "painted them in the way most suited to leave an eternal trace upon the memory of mankind."(1) However different their means -- their stylistic rhetoric, as Baudelaire called it -- and the nations or societies in which they worked, they all expressed, with "immense passion" and a "formidable will," "the atmosphere of the human drama."


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