(Jean Louis André) (1791-1824) French Romantic painter and graphic artist. The Raft of the Medusa 1819 (Louvre, Paris) was notorious in its day for exposing a relatively recent scandal in which shipwrecked sailors had been cut adrift and left to drown. His other works include The Derby at Epsom 1821 (Louvre, Paris) and pictures of cavalry. He also painted portraits, including remarkable studies of the insane, such as A Kleptomaniac 1822–23 (Musée des Beaux Arts, Ghent).
He studied first under the painter of hunting and racing scenes, Carle Vernet, 1808–10, then under the classicist Guérin, 1810–11, though it was Baron Gros who really inspired him to the dash and spirit of his early pictures of Napoleonic cavalry officers. After an unhappy love-affair he left Paris for Italy, 1816–17, where he conceived ambitious projects of painting in the grand style of Michelangelo and Raphael, making studies for a large canvas suggested by the Barberi horse race. On his return he painted his most famous picture, The Raft of the Medusa, a painting in which the classic nude of David, realism of subject and a Romantic force of feeling were characteristically blended: it made a strong impression on the young Delacroix, who incidentally posed for one of the figures. The visit to England which followed, 1820–22, marked a change of direction. The sporting print and English genre picture alike attracted him, The Derby at Epsom (Louvre) being a striking result, while he made several lithographs of London life and character and in addition an equestrian portrait of the Prince Regent (Wallace Collection). In 1822–23, back in Paris, he executed a series of portraits, clinical in their veracity, of insane patients in the Salpetričre hospital.