The Death of Marat

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Death of Marat
Death of Marat; Jacques Louis David; 1793; Oil on canvas; 65 x 50 1/2 in; Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique

Art was used during the French Revolution to pursue a frank political agenda, including creating a martyr of an assassinated hero of the revolution. Marat is shown here murdered in his bath, assassinated by a rival revolutionary Charlotte Corday. Marat suffered from a skin disease and bathed frequently for relief. He saw visitors in his bath and is holding in his hand a fraudulent letter of introduction. The wound and dagger are of minimal importance in the painting. There is little blood, and the skin ailment is invisible. Instead we see a spiritual and noble Marat in an austere setting, a hero of the revolution.


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