Norwegian artist Edvard Munch painted the scene of the assassination of French politician Jean Paul Marat on several occasions during the events following the French Revolution. It was a subject that he de alt with repeatedly between 1906 and 1907, and an example of this is this large canvas (150 x 200 cm) that is exhibited at theMunch Museum in Oslo, the capital from Norway
Munch's Marat Death
In fact, there are two practically identical versions, although with different titles, since one was called The Death of Marat and the other is titled The Killer. The truth is that in both, the protagonist is the woman, contrary to what was traditional in other previous paintings dedicated to the same subject, with special mention to the most famous version of all, the one made by the French painterDavid.
In all those previous paintings, the woman who killed the politician did not appear. Instead here,Charlotte Corday(even her name is known) appears in the foreground, in the center of the work. She is completely naked and looks at us with an expressionless face. Expressionless but alive, because really she is the only thing that maintains life in a rather Dantesque crime scene, with the corpse also naked lying on the bed and innumerable blood stains.
The body of Marat himselflooks like a crucified man lying down with multiple wounds on his body, ina version of his death that has nothing historical, unlike the famous canvas of David. But keep in mind that Munch wasn't telling the story of the past, but rather using that episode as an allegory.
Actually, he wants to show us in images a metaphor of the relationship between love and death. Which also has to do with his own personal experiences, which always pervade Munch's works, of a highlyexpressionisticcharacter.
Edvard Munch had a bloody incident in 1902 with his partnerTulla Larsen, who wanted to marry the artist. However, during the heat of a heated fight between the two, she ended up firing a gun. The result was that they had to amputate a finger on his left hand and of course the relationship between the two was completely and forever broken. And it is quite clear that this event served as an inspiration when painting this other work.