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Art + History: The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David

Daytime Program on Zoom

Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0104
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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"The Death of Marat" by Jacques-Louis David


Great art is timeless, and speaks to us across time, culture and space. Yet great works come from real people living real lives—whether their work was made 5 minutes or 500 years ago. In this series, popular Smithsonian Associates speaker Paul Glenshaw looks at great works of art in their historical context. He delves into the time of the artist, explores the present they inhabited, and what shaped their vision and creations.

The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David is one of the most iconic images of the French Revolution. This memorial to the martyred journalist and politician assassinated in his bathtub on July 13,1793 was painted by the leading French artist of the era and is remarkable both for its calm and quiet as well as the implied violence of the scene—Marat has just been stabbed. Glenshaw explores what happened in the moments, days, and months that preceded Marat’s end as captured by David. What were the circumstances of his death? Why would a young woman from an impoverished noble family work her way into his home and kill him? How did Marat rise to prominence in the Revolution? Why did David choose to create the painting? Glenshaw examines the intersections of these lives in the tumult of revolution, and the lasting appeal of this extraordinary painting.

Glenshaw is an artist, educator, author, and filmmaker with more than 25 years’ experience working across disciplines in the arts, history, and sciences. He teaches drawing for Smithsonian Associates and studied painting at Washington University in St. Louis.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*


If you are interested in additional Art + History lectures, view the upcoming schedule:


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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.