In of Marat”, which he created inIn of Marat”, which he created in

In the documentary
entitled “The Power of Art”, Schama discusses Jacques Louis David’s paintings
which had a considerable political impact in the late 18th century. David’s
paintings were often created to reflect his political stance, focusing on the
period during which they were painted. The painting Schama continually
discusses during this documentary is “The Death of Marat”, which he created in
hopes of addressing an image of a significant person: Jean-Paul Marat. It is
clear, David’s goal was to create an image that left an eternal, and favorable imprint
on the character of Marat which I think he was successful in, seeing how much
it still has an effect on viewers today. I think the reason Schama finds his
actions betrayed the meaning of art was because although his message was
moralizing, he promoted someone who is responsible for killing people and
viewed him as a “saint” almost Christ-like figure. The reality of the situation
was much more complex. Instead of revealing the truth of his actions, David
obscured what actually occurred. He glamourized Marat rather than portraying
him for who he really was; a fanatic and ruthless being. Throughout the video it
is evident that David is talented in showing his versatile painting techniques,
through which he is able to capture individuals and subjects with photographic
quality. However, in reference to his Marat painting it is obvious that he does
not use art as a tool to improve human condition as his painting has no level
of honesty to it. Although I don’t believe art always tells the truth, I think
that it is important to have an honest message. In David’s case, his painting
uses homicide to evoke sympathy from the viewer, immortalizing his subject as a
martyr and as someone who was a victim of murder. For this reason, this
painting can be viewed as propaganda because he blended aspects of fact and fiction,
particularly for political gain in radicalism.