Talk:The Death of Marat

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Italic text


It mentions here that Marat was a member of the Jacobin Club, but both the Marat article and the Jacobin article say he wasn't. I'm changin' it. Oystermind 22:58, 19 January 2007 (UTC)


I added in that the style is Neoclassicism - Unknown - 4/4/07


For bibliographical references, any reader should consult the following sources :

  • Lindsay, Jack, Death of the Hero, London, Studio Books (1960)
  • Brookner, Anita, Jacques-Louis David, Chatto & Windus (1980)
  • Schnapper, Antoine, David témoin de son temps, Office du Livre, Fribourg, (1980)
  • Delécluze, E., Louis David, son école et son temps, Paris, (1855) re-edition Macula (1983)
  • Sahut, Marie-Catherine & Régis Michel, David, l'art et le politique, éditions Gallimard-Découvertes et RMN Paris (1988)
  • Bordes, Philippe, David, éd. Hazan, Paris (1988)
  • Lévêque, Jean-Jacques, Jacques-Louis David, édition Acr Paris (1989)
  • Thévoz, Michel, Le théâtre du crime. Essai sur la peinture de David, éd. de Minuit, Paris (1989)
  • Noël, Bernard, David, éd. Flammarion, Paris (1989)
  • David contre David, actes du colloque au Louvre du 6-10 décembre 1989, éd. R. Michel, Paris (1993) - several essential contributions here about the Death of Marat.
  • Malvone, Laura, L'Évènement politique en peinture. A propos du Marat de David in Mélanges de l'Ecole française de Rome. Italie et Méditerranée, n° 106, 1 (1994)
  • Crow, Thomas, Emulation. Making artists for Revolutionary France, ed. Yale University Press, New Haven London (1995) - essential study about David and his pupils.
  • Monneret, Sophie Monneret, David et le néoclassicisme, ed. Terrail, Paris (1998)
  • Lajer-Burcharth, Ewa, Necklines. The art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror, ed. Yale University Press, New Haven London (1999)
  • Lee, Simon, David, ed. Phaidon, London (1999)
  • Jacques-Louis David’s Marat, edited by William Vaughan & Helen Weston, Cambridge (2000)
  • Prat, Louis-Antoine & Pierre Rosenberg, Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825. Catalogue raisonné des dessins, 2 volumes, éd. Leonardo Arte, Milan (2002) - fondamental book for anyone interested by David's work, because it reveals the very essence of his image construction : his drawings.
  • B. Peronnet, P. Rosenberg, Un album inédit de David in Revue de l'art, n°142 (2003-4), pp.45-83 (complete the previous reference)
  • I. Plesca, M. Vanden Berghe, Nouvelles perspectives sur la Mort de Marat : entre modèle jésuite et références mythologiques, Bruxelles (2004) / New Perspectives for David's Death of Marat, Brussels (2004) - text online on, section "publications"
  • Sainte-Fare Garnot, N., Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825, Paris, Ed. Chaudun (2005) - catalogue of the exhibition in the Museum Jacquemart André in Paris (for which the Death of Marat exceptionaly left Brussels)
  • Johnson, Dorothy,Jacques-Louis David. New Perspectives, Newark (2006)

What's written on the paper?[edit]

The article should transcribe what's written on the letter. Tempshill 17:49, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

The translation on there now is incorrect. I believe it's closer to "I have to be unhappy to earn your kindness or concern." Verbatim the sentence translates to: "It is enough that I am unhappy to have the right to your kindness." (talk) 04:56, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

an iconographic paradox[edit]

The following paragraph having already been exposed to vandalism, I put it here, so in case I wouldn't notice a future attack, any David viewer interested by this painting could get the possibility to read it:

Style : an iconographic paradox

Although the figure of Marat himself is idealized—for example, none of the skin problems from which he suffered are obvious in David's depiction—the details surrounding the subject are considered largely true-to-life. David said that he had visited Marat the day before his assassination and remembered seeing the sheet, the green rug, the papers, and the pen, saying to his peers of the Convention later on he would depict their murdered friend as he had seen him: "écrivant pour le bonheur du peuple" ("writing for the good of the people"). The name of the assassin, Charlotte Corday, can be seen on the paper held in Marat's left hand; but notably enough, the murderer has been withdrawn, although we literally watch Marat at his last breath, in other words: when Corday and many others were still around (it is established that Corday didn't try to escape). In this sense, for realistic as it is in its details, this painting, as a whole, from its start, is a methodical construction focusing on the victim, a striking set up regarded today by several critics as an "awful beautiful lie"—certainly not a photograph in the forensic scientific sense and barely the simple image it may seem.

First and above all, of course, this painting is a portrait of the man Charlotte Corday killed on the 13th of July. But there is more here than meets the eye. The painting as we know it has often been compared to Michelangelo's Pietà—note, in particular, the elongated arm hanging down in both works. David was also a known admirer of Caravaggio's works, especially for their composition and light, and the Entombment of Christ (1602-1604), kept in the Vatican's Pinacotheca, is another often quoted reference. The similarities may be the result of an "unconscious mental alchemy" in the brain of an artist reputed for his extended visual culture, but they may be deliberate. That David sought, in art, to transfer the sacred qualities long associated with the monarchy and the Catholic Church to the new French Republic is indisputable—no doubt he was expected to do so by the leaders of the Terror. Consequently, he painted Marat, martyr of the Revolution, in a style reminiscent of a Christian martyr, with the face and body bathed in a soft, glowing light, but as Christian Art had done it from its beginning, he also played here with multileveled references including Classical Art, this in order, not only to respond to an immediate political event (aspect that "ate" the literature on the subject, probably due to the impact of French Revolution on occidental imagination), but as well to compete with Rome as Capital and Mother City of the Arts, the French revolutionairs being thrilled with the idea of forming a kind of new Roman Republic.

In that perspective, more models, having a Roman origin (as a student of the Academy of France, David spent many years in Rome where he made more than 1,000 drawings he later kept in 12 albums, copied from the ancient masters) possibly interfered. Quite interesting is to observe that almost all of these models (the relief of Il letto di Policletto from the Palazzo Mattei, the statue on the façade from the jesuit church Il Gesu, the Giuditta with the head of Holoferne painted by Guido Reni or the copy made by Carlo Maratta, etc.) were to be seen in the same Roman neighbourhood, precisely the one were David stayed at the Academy of France (which was then located in Via del Corso, close to the Campidoglio). Doing so in the long hot summer of 1793 (this heat being the reason of the rapid decay of Marat's corpse which gave so much trouble for the funeral), David actually continued a fascinating regeneration process (of the Arts and of himself) he initiated earlier in the year with his Death of Lepelletier, an image achieved in less than three months, quoting his own previous Hector from his Andromaque mourning the body of Hector (his 1783 reception work to the Academy), both images (Hector, Lepelletier) reprocessing previous works such as The Testament of Eudamidas by Poussin (the most Roman of the French painters) before 1650, and the saint Sebastien carved by Giuseppe Giorgetti before 1672 (for the basilica of San Sebastiano fuori le Mura in Rome).

Therefore, rarely has a painting been such a paradox, for this "multifaceted" image is simultaneously a portrait, an historical painting in the highest sense (the way David himself emphasized it in the lists he later left of his own works), a realistic image, an idealized one, a burning topical act, and a scholarly condensation of multiple ancient models. The key of the artistic achievement being of course to succeed in this "meticulous mix", this to elaborate a powerful and haunting "icon for the masses". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:15, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

How the Web will change art history[edit]

All informations contained in this article seem to me referenced and documented. For decades if not centuries, access to information, on the contrary, has been difficult at best, one of the main reasons being that scholars mainly write their papers for their peers, and publish them in reviews with confidential print run, offprintings or books with quite limited edition (for obvious financial reasons). Therefore, information about art can now circulate more it ever could, allowing a large public to fully exercise, at last, his right to art education which for too long, had been a privilege of art scholars (if not a kind of "private property" depriving the artists of the right of having their works seen, watched and put, in terms of interpretation, in "open perspectives"). In his major study about David's drawings, the former curator of the Louvre, Pierre Rosenberg, in the name of David's works, defends what he calls a "right of being seen" (a "droit de regard"). No doubt Jacques-Louis David himself would have been thrilled by what "WWW" allows for that matter. A.G. July 2008


I found this article totally confusing. It is missing a description of the historical event that the painting depicts. Who's this Corday, who is suddenly mentioned, for example? Eiamjw (talk) 14:50, 5 November 2008 (UTC) - This article is precisely about the painting made by David, not about Jean-Paul Marat, or Charlotte Corday. Any reader seriously interested by this subject should not deprive himself of further reading (to start with : the articles about Jean-Paul Marat and Charlotte Corday). 07 novembre 2008

cleaning = cleansing ?[edit]

The clean(s)ing of this article has made it uninteresting and unuseful. From now on, it brings nothing more than a common entry in any art dictionary. Pity. But then again, was Wikipedia ever meant to remain free from censorship ? Rhetorical question that is... J.-P. L. december 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:47, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

Marat at His Last Breath[edit]

Isn't the title of David's painting Marat at His Last Breath? According to Thomas Crow, Emulation, p. 165-167 it is. This is all very confusing to me. What I am suffesting is that the name of the article AND the name of the painting in the article should be changed, especially if Crow is cited as a reference... Y.T. 18 February, 2010. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:20, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

"Lego based"? That my friend, is not Legos. (talk) 23:58, 30 November 2010 (UTC)