David, Marat’s colleague in the Convention, had visited him only the day before the murder, and he recalled the setting of the room vividlly, the tub, the sheet, the green rug, the wooden packing case, and above all, the pen of the journalist. He saw in Marat a model of antique “virtue.”
The day after the murder, David was invited by the Convention to make arrangements for the funeral ceremony, and to paint Marat’s portrait. He accepted with enthusiasm, but the decomposed state of the body made a true-to-life representation of the victim impossible. This circumstance, coupled with David’s own emotional state, resulted in the creation of this idealized image.