Shop art print and framed art Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la garde impériale chargeant by Théodore Géricault

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Subjects : Portrait
Keywords : 19th century, Romanticism, hat, horse, man, soldier
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To fully enjoy «Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la garde impériale chargeant» by Théodore Géricault, we recommend the medium size (79.7x60 cm) printed on hand stretched canvas, with the gilded mouldings - thin frame.
The artwork

Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la garde impériale chargeant

The Charging Chasseur: an iconic work by Théodore Géricault

The painting "The Charging Chasseur" is one of the most famous works by the French painter Théodore Géricault. The work features an officer in Napoleon's army, part of the horse chasseurs of the Imperial Guard, and perfectly illustrates Géricault's talent for equestrian portraiture.

An equestrian portrait in the French tradition

The equestrian portrait is a pictorial genre that has been highly prized in French painting since the Renaissance. It consists of depicting a figure, often from the nobility or royalty, mounted on horseback. The aim of this type of representation is generally to magnify the subject's social and military status, while highlighting their mastery of horsemanship.

In the case of "The Charging Chasseur", Théodore Géricault follows this tradition by depicting an anonymous officer in the imperial army. The work is distinguished, however, by its realism and dynamism, which reflect the influence of romanticism on Géricault's painting.

The influence of Romanticism

Théodore Géricault is often considered one of the precursors of the Romantic movement in France. Romanticism was characterised in particular by an interest in emotions, passions and individual expression, as well as historical and national themes.

In "The Charging Chasseur", we can see the influence of Romanticism through several elements:

  • The dynamism of the scene: the horse is depicted in full gallop, muscles taut and mane blowing in the wind, while the officer proudly brandishes his sabre. This energy contrasts with the rigidity of traditional equestrian portraits.
  • The realism: Géricault set out to faithfully reproduce the details of military costume, horse equipment and animal anatomy, giving the work great veracity.
  • The patriotism: this heroic charge scene celebrates the courage and bravery of French soldiers under the Napoleonic Empire.

The historical context of the work

The Napoleonic Empire

"The Charging Chasseur" was made in 1812, at the height of the First French Empire led by Napoleon Bonaparte. This era was marked by a series of wars and territorial conquests that shaped the image of soldiers in the imperial army as intrepid and valiant heroes.

The horse chasseurs of the Imperial Guard were considered the elite of the French cavalry, tasked in particular with providing close protection for the Emperor. The choice of depicting an officer from this elite unit therefore reflects the tribute Géricault intended to pay to the French military forces.

The artistic career of Théodore Géricault

Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) was a French painter whose career was marked by a succession of successes and failures. Trained in the studio of the neo-classical Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, he quickly established himself as one of the great hopes of French painting thanks to works such as "The Raft of the Medusa" and "The Horse Race".

However, despite his undeniable talent, Géricault often struggled to find his place in the artistic milieu of his time. Indeed, his works were sometimes deemed too daring or provocative, and some of his projects were rejected by official institutions. It was in this context that "The Charging Chasseur" was made.

Technical characteristics of the painting

"The Charging Chasseur" is an oil painting on canvas measuring 349 x 266 cm. Géricault gave this work great expressive power, thanks in particular to his bold use of chiaroscuro and his palette of contrasting colours. The result is a painting that immediately captures the eye and powerfully evokes the heroic battles of the Napoleonic era.

The artist has also demonstrated remarkable skill in depicting textures and materials: we can admire, for example, the fine detail of the military costume, the metallic rendering of the horse's armour or the transparency of the foam escaping from the animal's nostrils.

All in all, "The Charging Chasseur" is a work that testifies to Théodore Géricault's artistic genius and richly deserves its place among the masterpieces of French painting.


This artwork is a painting from the classical period. It belongs to the romanticism style.


« Officier de chasseurs à cheval de la garde impériale chargeant » is kept at Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.


The artist

Théodore Géricault

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