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David's Depiction of The Death of Marat

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Stephanie Guest Humanities Core Professor Nuccia February 24, 2003 David's Depiction of The Death of Marat During the late eighteenth century French citizens were deep into fighting for a republic. Problems began when, the third estate started to fight for a horizontal form of government instead of the vertical monarchy that was taking place. To overthrow the monarchy the third estate formed the National Assembly and announced the end of feudalism and serfdom in France. But as the revolution progressed, different factions arose within the National Convention. Jean- Paul Marat, a popular newspaper publisher during the Revolution, was a representative of the Mountain faction in Paris's National Convention. The Mountain Faction represented a completely horizontal government. However, a popular bourgeois group, the Girondians, wanted a decentralized form of government in which various provinces or departments would determine their own affairs. The Girondians wanted this type of government to defend their principles of property and economic freedom. After the National Convention, Marat became disliked by the Girondians because of their opposing view points. He was especially detested by an educated Girondian woman named Marie- Anne Charlotte Corday. She believed Marat was the biggest problem of the Revolution because of the material printed in his newspaper. ...read more.


In David's painting Marat appears to meet all of the requirements to being a saint. Marat is venerable because he is surrounded by the work of the Revolution in the painting. Marat was very heroic to be leading the people to a republic, because with so many different view points in the Revolution he, consequently, formed many enemies. In the painting, Marat also appears to have a miracle attributed to him. He has the light shinning down upon him, making him look angelic. Marat helped France to become a horizontal government which is a miracle because he gave people freedom and the ability to have control over their own country. Lastly, Marat is a martyr because he died for the Revolution. This is displayed as the deep gouge on Marat's chest and the blood in the painting. Marat died for the Revolution and became one of its immortal icons. Through the symbolism in the painting Marat is displayed as being saintly. The few objects in the painting, the box, writing utensil, and letter, are very symbolic and important objects because they depict Marat's a revolutionary ethos. The use of space in the painting is very simple. Marat is only surrounded by a few belongings which David wanted Marat to be associated with. ...read more.


David was telling his audience that the Girondians would never be successful in winning the Revolution because the will of Marat's followers was greater than the Girondians could ever be. The uneven parts of the lighting on the top of the canvas suggest betrayal by Corday against the Revolution, because Corday tainted the community by killing one of its popular leaders. Marat represents the light colors which are pure and good, while Corday represents the dark colors that could possibly ruin the French Revolution and all it stands for. David knew that his painting would be displayed in public, which gave him great power to persuade the ideas of the community. Because of the influence he had, David depicted Marat as having a revolutionary ethos. In his painting, Marat � son dernier soupiralso, David also gives Marat a religious pathos because it makes him appear like a saintly martyr that died for the revolution. David makes a political statement against the Girondians and Corday. During the turmoil of the Revolution, the Girondians were a faction from the National Assembly. They were a bourgeois group that wanted to protect their property and economic freedom. However, the Mountain faction favored and fought for equal sovereignty between classes. After many years of fighting the Mountain faction dominated and France became a Republic. Amongst all of the chaos, Marat's death helped the third estate fight for their equality and to overthrow the monarchy. 1 Guest ...read more.

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