LETTER TO MARAT

The painting "Letter to Marat" is based on "Lady writing a Letter with her Maid", one of the most famous works by Johannes Vermeer, dated around 1670.

"Lady writing a letter with her Maid" was made by Vermeer in the period 1670 - 1671, and belongs to one of his later works. A writing lady, focused on her letter, is pictured with her maid. Apparently a letter has come, it is folded on the floor, along with a seal of red wax. The letter is answered immediately, the maid waits, her thoughts elsewhere, ready to deliver the message.

The large painting, almost completely occupying the wall in the background, has the discovery of Moses as subject. In the Netherlands of the 17th century it often happened that mothers abandoned their illegitimate children, so it may be that Vermeer refers to them. There must certainly be a connection between the symbolic meaning of the painting and the writer of the letter. The key to this must be found in the painting.

In baroc’s painting "Letter to Marat", the maid was omitted, and the painting on the wall was replaced by "The Death of Marat", a neoclassical painting by the French painter Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1828). It was made in 1793, shortly after the French Revolution in which David was actively involved. David became friends with Maximilien de Robespierre and Jean-Paul Marat. His most famous painting is "The Death of Marat" painted in October 1793. Jean-Paul Marat was stabbed at his home on July the 13th 1793 by Charlotte Corday. David was asked to organise the funeral and deliver a painting in his memory. Marat was publisher of the magazine "L'ami du peuple" and often worked in his bathtub because he suffered from a skin disease he could only relieve by bathing a lot. David portrayed a contemporary hero, who died with his 'weapon' in his hand, pictured next to the bloodied knife. Today, the work can be seen in the modern section of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.

In Baroc's painting "Letter to Marat", a peculiar tension originates between the seated woman writing her letter quietly and concentrated in the soft invading light, and the dramatic dark image in the painting against the wall of a dying man, lying in his bath, with a bloody letter in his hand.

Lady writing a letter with her mail - 71,1 x 58,4 -  Johannes Vermeer - National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
Letter to Marat - 60 x 50 - Baroc Paintings - price on demand

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