Monday, December 27, 2010

Movie ~ Le radeau de la Meduse (1994)

Starring Jean Yanne (Chaumareys), Claude Jade (Reine Schmaltz), Philippe Laudenbach (Julien Schmaltz), Lautent Terzieff (Theodore Gericault), Daniel Mesguich (Lt. Coudein), Alain Mace (Henri Savigny), Jean Desailly (La Tullaye) and Rufus (Soldier musician).

Portrayals in Music

In 1968 the German composer Hans Werner Henze wrote an oratorio, Das Floß der Medusa, in memory of Che Guevara.

Portrayals in Literature

A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes is a semi-fictional work that attempts to deglaze and satirise popular historical legends. The chapter "Shipwreck" is devoted to the analysis of this painting. The first half narrates the incidents leading to the shipwreck and the survival of the crew members. The second half of the chapter renders a dark platonic and satirical analysis of the painting itself, and Géricault's "softening" the impact of crude reality in order to preserve the aestheticism of the work.

The German dramatist Georg Kaiser wrote a play The Raft of the Medusa (Das Floß der Medusa) (1940–1943).

The untranslated second volume of Peter Weiss's novel The Aesthetics of Resistance (Die Ästhetik des Widerstands) opens with a detailed historical account of the Medusa and subsequently describes Géricault's painting.

The Raft by Arabella Edge, was published in 2006 and is a fictional account describing how Géricault may have come to his painting. (The American edition, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster, is titled The God of Spring.)

Oceano Mare by Alessandro Baricco — The second book describes the event from the point of view of one of the passengers of the raft.

In Arthur C. Clarke's 2061, Dr. Heywood Floyd's friends give him a print of the painting as a tongue-in-cheek going-away present for his trip to Halley's comet. Their inscription reads, "Getting there is half the fun."

Other Portrayals in Popular Culture

The rock group Great White used this painting as the cover art for their album Sail Away.
The second album by Irish folk-rock group The Pogues, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, uses the famous painting as its album cover, with the faces of the band members replacing those of the men on the raft. Also, on their album Hell's Ditch they pay tribute to the incident with the song "The Wake of the Medusa".

The layout of the scene is copied in the French comic book Astérix Légionnaire (Goscinny/Uderzo, 1967) to depict yet another shipwreck of Astérix's recurring pirate enemies. The captain's comment is the pun, "Je suis médusé" ("I am dumbfounded"). Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge in their English translation replaced this pun with a different joke specifically relating to the painting, having the captain say, "We've been framed, by Jericho!"

In The Adventures of Tintin comic The Red Sea Sharks, while the protagonists are escaping on a raft, a wave washes Captain Haddock off. He climbs back on with a jellyfish on his head. Tintin asks him: "Do you think this is some raft of Méduse?" (Méduse is the French word for "jellyfish".)

French songwriter and poet Georges Brassens alludes to the raft of Méduse in his song Les copains d'abord (1964). The song is a hymn to friendship, symbolised by the crew of a ship named "Les Copains d'Abord" (Friends first), and in the first verse it says that she was not "the raft of Méduse".

Dr. Lecter's mind wanders to Géricault's anatomical studies for The Raft of the Medusa while waiting for Senator Martin to focus on their conversation in the novel The Silence of the Lambs.

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