Théodore Géricault (1791-1824), The Raft of the Medusa, 1819, Musée du Louvre.
“Géricault drew his inspiration from the account of two survivors of the Medusa—a French Royal Navy frigate that set sail in 1816 to colonize Senegal. It was captained by an officer of the Ancien Régime who had not sailed for over twenty years and who ran the ship aground on a sandbank. Due to the shortage of lifeboats, those who were left behind had to build a raft for 150 souls—a construction that drifted away on a bloody 13-day odyssey that was to save only 10 lives. The disaster of the shipwreck was made worse by the brutality and cannibalism that ensued.”