A Cart Loaded with Kegs
A Cart Loaded with Kegs, ca. 1819
Oil on canvas
59.5 x 73.3 cm (23 3/8 x 28 7/8 inches)
Museum Works of Art Fund 43.539
Draft horses set amidst the wharves, smithies, and yards where they were employed became a favorite theme for Théodore Géricault after 1820, the year he traveled to London to exhibit his monumental painting, The Raft of the Medusa (1819). Lithographs he produced during his second visit in 1821 demonstrated the persistence of this interest as well as growing familiarity with the city. Here, he depicts two horses harnessed to a cart loaded with kegs in the romantic gloom of a muddy tavern or brewery yard. The animals’ quiet solidity is emphasized by the massive arch nearby. Except for the sign bearing a rearing white horse that probably marked an entrance to an inn, all evidence of human activity has been excluded from the scene.