Death of Marat

The French Revolution led to the creation of Jacques Louis David's masterpiece titled "Death of Marat", which clearly depicted the assassination of Marat, a leader in the French Revolution in 1793.David portrayed Marat as a secular saint who sacrificed his life for the people of his country.
Marat's saint-like pose is similar to Christ's in Michelangelo's "Pieta", which emphasizes Marat's role as a political martyr.David represented Marat in a heroic approach, because the men were close friends and the scene painted by David held great significance not only personally, but publicly in Europe."Elected into the National Convention, David had the responsibility to ensure the momentum of the revolution would continue; therefore he worked to capture Marat in the most appealing way possible" 739).Marat was to be a symbol for maintaining the movement and ultimately becoming a "friend of the people"."David has idealized Marat in Classical fashion, for his body was in fact ravaged by a skin disease.He found relief from this by soaking in the bath" (739).
David had previously painted "The Oath the Horatii", which depicted dedication and sacrifice, a theme similar to that of "Death of Marat".Charlotte Corday, a counterrevolutionary, entered Marat's home and stabbed him while he was in the bath.A shockwave was sent through Paris after the assassination of the revolutionary leader, causing David rush to the scene to record the gruesome sight on canvas.The murder scene shows Marat clutching the letter from Corday falsely pleading for assistance. "Corday fraudulently used the letter to gain access to Marat in order to execute his murder" (119).David exaggerated some facts about the letter to further his point of view of the scenario, which was common for painters to do during the neoclassical era.


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