Exhibitions2022The Death of Marat

The Death of Marat

27 Apr - 6 Aug 22

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Since 1893, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium has held Jacques Louis David's masterpiece, The death of Marat (1793). In order to bear witness to the central position of this painting in the advent of modern art, the Royal Museums dedicated an exhibition to this masterpiece of their collections. In an unprecedented approach to David's artwork, the exhibition combined historical and contemporary views, as well as a scientific approach.

The exhibition was structured in three sections to offer the public new understandings of David's work. The first scientific section presented the results of the material and technical pluridisciplinary study entitled "Face to Face" conducted on The death of Marat, which revealed – for the first time – the underlying sketch of the masterpiece. In a second, historical section, studio replicas conserved in Reims, Dijon and Versailles were presented, as well as a version belonging to a private collection (Paris).

Finally, this section will be completed by contemporary interpretations by Gavin Turk and other artists such as Picasso, Ai Weiwei, Jean-Luc Moerman, Jan Van Imschoot, and Rachel Labastie. Displayed in the exhibition was Turk’s Death of Marat, a waxwork of the artist as Jean Paul Marat on his death bed, based on the painting of the same name by Jacques-Louis David.