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The Death of Marat, painting at the museum of fine arts in Brussels

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The Death of Marat is an eighteenth century (Year 1793) painting in the Neo-classical style by the Jacques- Louis David. The painting is being revered and is praised as an image from the French Revolution. This painting depicts the killing of radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat, killed on the 13th of July 1793 by Charlotte Corday. Corday was a French Revolutionary figure hailing from a mediocre aristocratic family. Corday, held Marat for the September Massacres and feared an all out civil war. He favored the assassination as terming it as an effort to save one lakh lives by killing the only one.

Jean-Paul Marat was a Swiss-born French physician, philosopher, political theorist and scientist and was referred as the well known radical journalist and politician from the French Revolution. It is said about him that Marat use to take shelter of cold bath to ease him from the violent itching as emerging from skin diseases that he suffered for a long period and are said to be caused as when he was forced to escape in Paris sewers to save him from his enemies. David was a close friend of Marat, as well as a strong supporter of Robespierre and the Jacobins. As he had a facial tumor as occurred due to fencing, David was excessively happy with his capacity to convince crowd for their speeches. He as an effort to memorize his friend, David painted this portrait of Marat.

Marat is quite praised one and is idealized and the painting there keeps no sign of skin problems. However in this painting he is not shown with the marks of his skin problems. David, however, collected the details from his visit to Marat’s residence well before the assassination as including, the green rug, the papers, and the pen.  David, there promised his friends in the National Convention that would inspect and show their murdered friend invocatively. The Death of Marat is there referred and designed as a personal hero. Yet the name Charlotte Corday can be seen there on the paper as kept in Marat’s left hand, the assassin herself is not visible.

While a close look of this painting shows Marat at his last breath when Corday and many others were yet close to them. And there David had tried to preserve more than the horror of martyrdom. In this manner, the painting, entirely from its beginning is a systematic construction of the victim and according to many critiques is termed as the “awful beautiful lie”. Many a times, the painting Death of Marat is been compared to the Michelangelo’s Pieta.

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