The J. Paul Getty Museum

Horses and Riders (recto); Horses (verso)

Object Details


Horses and Riders (recto); Horses (verso)


Théodore Géricault (French, 1791 - 1824)




France (Place Created)





Object Number:



21 × 27.9 cm (8 1/4 × 11 in.)

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Object Description

An enthusiastic horseman himself, Théodore Géricault was fascinated with the movement and power of these animals. In this page from one of his many dismantled sketchbooks, both the recto and verso contain numerous drawings of horses. On the front or recto, Géricault experimented with placing different liveried officers on the backs of rearing horses. Although he varied the uniform, helmets, and swords of the officers, the prancing animals set at various angles appear to have the most energy. Géricault's animated pencil moved vigorously across the sheet, creating flowing tails and prancing feet with quick, sure strokes.

On the back or verso, Géricault concentrated on bold renderings of horses alone. He practiced on four heads in the corner, while the central figures focus more on stance. The swirling lines that effortlessly suggest the head and manes of the animals blend into strong, muscular bodies with the addition of shaded lines. These quick sketches contrast sharply with the painstaking detail of a single hoof, where Géricault showed the nail studs of the horseshoe, the hairy fetlock, and strong bone structure with careful precision.


Joseph Raphaël Vitta, baron Vitta, French, 1860 - 1942 (Paris)


Hans Eduard Bühler, 1893 - 1967

November 15, 1985

Art Market (New York)

Theodore Géricault, 1791 - 1824 (August 30 to November 8, 1953) (catalogue by P. Dubaut and G. Jedlicka)
  • Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library (Winterthur), August 30 to November 8, 1953
Géricault: Romantic Paintings and Drawings (January 28 to March 26, 1989) (recto)
  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco), January 28 to March 26, 1989
Géricault (October 10, 1991 to January 6, 1992) (recto; Catalogue entry by S. Lavessière)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais (Paris), October 10, 1991 to January 6, 1992
Master Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998
To Create a Living Art: 19th Century Drawings (May 1 to July 15, 2001) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 15, 2001
Drawing: The Art of Change (October 4, 2016 to January 1, 2017) (verso)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 4, 2016 to January 1, 2017