July 13, 1793
Charlotte Corday assassinates Jean Paul Marat as he bathes
Marat, an outspoken leader of the French Revolution, was targeted by Corday because of his role in the September Massacres. (Marat and others encouraged the executions of 1200-1400 prisoners so they could not escape.) Corday also believed his death would halt a full-blown civil war.
Under the false pretense that she had information of a Girondist uprising, Marat agreed to give Corday audience. As he suffered from a skin condition, he often conducted business in his bath tub and this occasion was no different. Corday gave Marat several Girondist names and, as he wrote them, she plunged a knife she had hidden in her bodice into his chest, killing him almost immediately. Corday then waited patiently for police to arrest her. She was executed 4 days later by guillotine, which she met with equal patience.
According to witnesses, after her head was cut off, a carpenter named Legros picked up her head and slapped her cheek. Her severed head replied to the insult with a look of “unequivocal indignation.” Legros’ act was considered unacceptable, even by those who sought to execute Corday, and he was sentenced to 3 months in prison for his disrespect.
L’Assassinat de Marat / Charlotte Corday, Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry, 1860
L’Assassinat de Marat, Jean-Joseph Weerts, 1880
Charlotte Corday et Marat, Jules Aviat, 1880