Saturday, November 24, 2007

David Marat

I'm not sure why I made this copy of David's Death of Marat. The proportion is a bit off because I rushed right into the copying without first properly measuring. No matter. It was a good exercise and I enjoyed it and am pleased with much of it. As I was looking for links to the original, two other historic portraits came to mind. After looking at them — both important master pieces — next to this David, I better understand the magic of this painting.

Link to Bronzino's Portait of a Young Man painted ahout 260 years previous, and to Portrait of Napoleon on the Imperial Throne painted by Ingres 13 years later. I looked at each and appreciated everything about them. The Ingres is simply stunning in terms of subject and technique but also because, in juxtaposition to the David Marat, of the mere 13 years between the Reign of Terror and the death of Marat, and the rise of Napoleon and his Emporer's crown. It makes sense to compare this to the David. The Bronzino makes less sense but it has always been a personal favorite — more because of the composition than the actual portrait although that's nothing to sneeze at. Anyway, it's an interesting little group to meditate on.

Addition to post on 11/27/07:

This afternoon I read about a current exhibit at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore that includes a virtual comparison of the first version of David's Death of Marat and four painted copies. Here's a Washington Post article on the exhibit (which is really more about pants than painting).

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