Le Radeau de la Méduse – originally titled Scène de Naufrage (Shipwreck Scene) – is an oil painting of 1818–19 by the French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault (1791–1824). Completed when the artist was 27, the work has become an icon of French Romanticism. It is an over-life-size painting that depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today’s Mauritania on 2 July 1816. On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation and dehydration and practised cannibalism. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain.
With the brush we merely tint, while the imagination alone produces colour.Theodore Gericault