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The Death of Marat: A Symbol of the French Revolution

Posted by: | October 1, 2009 | No Comment |

The French Revolution sparked a change in the French media. During this time period, free press was established, and newspapers had the privilege of sharing their personal opinions without prior approval from the King.

By 1790, the amount of newspapers in France had increased dramatically. Many newspapers, such as L’ami du Peuple, were partisan-based, and took stabs at people in high authority. As a result, one of the main writers of L’ami du Peuple, Jean-Paul Marat, was eventually assassinated.

Jean Paul Marat was known for his highly opinionated stories. He once said, “I attack the cheats without fear, I unmask the hypocrites, and I denounce the traitors.” His powerful words eventually contributed to the death of many people in France, including himself.

Before Marat’s death, Charlotte Corday, a young Royalist, came to him with a petition to sign. While Marat proceeded to sign the petition, Corday stabbed him. Corday knew the impact Marat’s words had on the French people, and she wanted to kill Marat in hopes of saving the lives of many others.

Marat’s death is depicted in a famous painting titled, The Death of Marat. The artist, Jacque- Louis David, was a fellow colleague of Marat’s. In the painting, David shows Marat in a bathtub full of blood with his writing utensil in hand. In his other hand, Marat holds a petition given to him by Corday, prior to his murder.

The Death of Marat

The Death of Marat

With this painting, Jacques Louis David displays Marat’s death in a way that shows innocence and strikes compassion. David wanted viewers to see the sacrifice Marat made for utilizing his freedom of speech. The image of Marat’s blood left on the petition perhaps explains how Marat left a lasting mark on the French Revolution.

Although Marat’s legacy is a thing of the past, the painting of his death still lives on. The Death of Marat is now located in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. It continues to remind people about the impact that the power of words and free press had on the French Revolution.

Ultimately, The Death of Marat is a true symbol of the French Revolution.

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