Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jacques-Louis David, "Death of Marat"

Jacques-Louis David, "Death of Marat," 1793, oil on canvas

This image depicts the murder of Jean-Paul Marat, a French-revolutionary leader. Charlotte Corday, a political member of the opposing family to Marat, entered his home and stabbed him. She entered his home upon present a letter promising details of a counter-revolutionary ring. Marat also suffered from a skin condition and spent much time in the bathtub. David's painting highlights many of these facts and provides a vivid image of the event.

What appears most striking about this image are the colors used. Placed upon a back background, the subtle earthy tones emit a warm and calming atmosphere. However, these colors juxtapose the eery background and dark nature of the image. The composition and lighting also drew me into this piece. In the text, the image appears black and white, greatly emphasizing the lighting of the image. Lastly, David's obsession with the Greek figure dictated his depiction of Marat through its composition and characterization, and further attracted me to the piece. This painting truly blends the old with the new (of his time) and warm with darkness.

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