Delacroix had tremendous admiration for Géricault, whose early death from a horseriding accident affected him deeply.
The two artists met in Pierre Guérin’s studio. When Géricault finished lycée, he first joined the studio of Carle Vernet, a fashionable painter and horse lover, before moving on to Pierre Guérin’s studio; he also continued to assiduously copy the old masters in the rooms of the Louvre. He won a gold medal the first year he exhibited at the Salon (1812), with The Chasseur of the Imperial Guard (Paris, Musée du Louvre). He entered the Prix de Rome competition, but didn’t win.
In 1817, he traveled to Italy in 1817 at his own expense, but was relatively unimpressed with the beauty of the Eternal City.
On his return, he worked in lithography. His most famous painting, The Raft of the Medusa (Paris, Musée du Louvre) took over a year to complete. This immense canvas caused a scandal at the 1819 Salon (Delacroix posed for one of the shipwrecked sailors).