The Death Of Marat : The Role Of Morality

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How Are Morals Portrayed In Art?
Reviewing the role of morality in three different art periods
Do Morals Belong in Art?
The role which morality should play in art has been contested for as long as art has existed. Some say that art is to be used to influence society to become better, to teach the audience, while others say that art should be for arts sake, independent of society’s current view on morality. Three paintings from three different art periods will be explored to see how morality’s role in art is approached differently. David’s “The Death of Marat” shows how art can be a vehicle for moral education, Daumier’s “The Laundress on the Quai d’Anjou” honours character produced from suffering, and Manet’s “Olympia” harshly criticises France’s moral hypocrisies. Although not all artists set out to show morals in their art, their paintings subconsciously reflect the time that they were in, which involves society’s morals.
The Death of Marat – David’s Ultimate Propaganda
Jacques-Louis David was a Neo-classical artist in 18th Century France. He painted in this serious style as a direct reaction against the accepted Rococo art era. Whilst the Rococo era was shallow and frivolous in subject matter (see The Swing, right), David’s paintings focused strongly on ideas of sacrifice and duty. But why would he work in this way? It was because David had a clear purpose for his art. He was a strong Republican who longed for the day when France would overthrow the gluttonous,
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