Georges La Tour (19)

Georges de La Tour (13 March 1593 – 30 January 1652) painter, mostly of candlelit subjects, who was well known in his own time but then forgotten until well into the 20th century, when the identification of many formerly misattributed works established his modern reputation as a giant of French painting.

Georges de La Tour was born in the town of Vic-sur-Seille in the Diocese of Metz, which was technically part of the Holy Roman Empire, but had been ruled by France since 1552. La Tour's educational background remains somewhat unclear, but it is assumed that he traveled either to Italy or the Netherlands early in his career. He may possibly have trained under Jacques Bellange in Nancy, the capital of Lorraine, although their styles are very different. His paintings reflect the Baroque naturalism of Caravaggio, but this probably reached him through the Dutch Caravaggisti of the Utrecht School and other Northern (French and Dutch) contemporaries. In particular, La Tour is often compared to the Dutch painter Hendrick Terbrugghen.

In 1617 he married Diane Le Nerf, from a minor noble family, and in 1620 he established his studio in her quiet provincial home-town of Lunéville, part of the independent Duchy of Lorraine which was occupied by France, during his lifetime, in the period 1641–1648. He painted mainly religious and some genre scenes. He was given the title "Painter to the King" (of France) in 1638, and he also worked for the Dukes of Lorraine in 1623–4, but the local bourgeoisie provided his main market, and he achieved a certain affluence.

The paintings of La Tour’s maturity, however, are marked by a startling geometric simplification of the human form and by the depiction of interior scenes lit only by the glare of candles or torches. His religious paintings done in this manner have a monumental simplicity and a stillness that expresses both contemplative quiet and wonder.

La Tour’s work also exhibits a high degree of originality in colour and composition; the characteristic simplification of forms gives many of his pictures a deceptively modern appearance. Among La Tour’s most impressive candlelit scenes are The Newborn, St. Joseph the Carpenter, and The Lamentation over St. Sebastian. The Hurdy-Gurdy Player and The Sharper are among his less numerous daylight compositions.

Georges de La Tour and his family died in 1652 in an epidemic in Lunéville.

La Tour's early work shows influences from Caravaggio, probably via his Dutch followers, and the genre scenes of cheats—as in The Fortune Teller and fighting beggars clearly derive from the Dutch Caravaggisti, and probably also his fellow-Lorrainer, Jacques Bellange. These are believed to date from relatively early in his career.

After his death at Lunéville in 1652, La Tour's work was forgotten until rediscovered in 1915 by Hermann Voss, a German art historian who would later become head of Hitler's Führermuseum; some of La Tour's work had in fact been confused with Vermeer, when the Dutch artist underwent his own rediscovery in the nineteenth century.

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The Fortune Teller

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 349

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 399

Magdalena Wrightsman

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 369

Magdalene with the Smoking Flame

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 359

The Repentant Magdalen

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 339

The Education of the Virgin

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 349

The Musicians' Brawl

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 409

The Newborn Christ

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 349

The Hurdy Gurdy Player

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 369

Joseph the Carpenter

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 339

Job Mocked by his Wife

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 379

St Sebastian tended by St Irene

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 359

Dice players

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 369

St Jerome

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 379

St. Thomas

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 349

Smoker 1646

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 339

Saint Jerome

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 369

Self-portait

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 349

Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene

By Georges La Tour
Sizes starting at
AU$ 369

Georges La Tour (19)

Georges de La Tour (13 March 1593 – 30 January 1652) painter, mostly of candlelit subjects, who was well known in his own time but then forgotten until well into the 20th century, when the identification of many formerly misattributed works established his modern reputation as a giant of French painting.

Georges de La Tour was born in the town of Vic-sur-Seille in the Diocese of Metz, which was technically part of the Holy Roman Empire, but had been ruled by France since 1552. La Tour's educational background remains somewhat unclear, but it is assumed that he traveled either to Italy or the Netherlands early in his career. He may possibly have trained under Jacques Bellange in Nancy, the capital of Lorraine, although their styles are very different. His paintings reflect the Baroque naturalism of Caravaggio, but this probably reached him through the Dutch Caravaggisti of the Utrecht School and other Northern (French and Dutch) contemporaries. In particular, La Tour is often compared to the Dutch painter Hendrick Terbrugghen.

In 1617 he married Diane Le Nerf, from a minor noble family, and in 1620 he established his studio in her quiet provincial home-town of Lunéville, part of the independent Duchy of Lorraine which was occupied by France, during his lifetime, in the period 1641–1648. He painted mainly religious and some genre scenes. He was given the title "Painter to the King" (of France) in 1638, and he also worked for the Dukes of Lorraine in 1623–4, but the local bourgeoisie provided his main market, and he achieved a certain affluence.

The paintings of La Tour’s maturity, however, are marked by a startling geometric simplification of the human form and by the depiction of interior scenes lit only by the glare of candles or torches. His religious paintings done in this manner have a monumental simplicity and a stillness that expresses both contemplative quiet and wonder.

La Tour’s work also exhibits a high degree of originality in colour and composition; the characteristic simplification of forms gives many of his pictures a deceptively modern appearance. Among La Tour’s most impressive candlelit scenes are The Newborn, St. Joseph the Carpenter, and The Lamentation over St. Sebastian. The Hurdy-Gurdy Player and The Sharper are among his less numerous daylight compositions.

Georges de La Tour and his family died in 1652 in an epidemic in Lunéville.

La Tour's early work shows influences from Caravaggio, probably via his Dutch followers, and the genre scenes of cheats—as in The Fortune Teller and fighting beggars clearly derive from the Dutch Caravaggisti, and probably also his fellow-Lorrainer, Jacques Bellange. These are believed to date from relatively early in his career.

After his death at Lunéville in 1652, La Tour's work was forgotten until rediscovered in 1915 by Hermann Voss, a German art historian who would later become head of Hitler's Führermuseum; some of La Tour's work had in fact been confused with Vermeer, when the Dutch artist underwent his own rediscovery in the nineteenth century.

Read more