Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday History

Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat, 1793
Oil on Canvas, 64" x 50"

Controversy in Art
Compare this heading to your initial impressions of this piece - what might make it controversial? Investigate a little about Jacques-Louis David and consider how is ties with the French Revolution have an impact on the message of this masterwork. David is considered by most to be the greatest painters of the Neoclassical movement and had a career that sounds more like a movie script than a story from art history. 

This excerpt from Wikipedia offers a quick glance at the context of this painting:
This work refers to the assassination of radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat, killed on the 13th of July 1793 by Charlotte Corday, a French Revolutionary figure from a minor aristocratic family. Corday, who blamed Marat for the September Massacres and feared an all out civil war, claimed "I killed one man to save 100,000." 
Where do you go from here? Find out more about the background of David, who created many pieces that would crack the top 100 paintings of all time including the "Oath of the Horatii" and "Napoleon at the Saint-Bernard Pass." Enjoy these pieces and try to understand their role in not only the history of art, but of the world as well.
Happy Monday!

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