Thursday, March 22, 2012

La Tour, Georges de

The New-born Child
c. 1648
Oil on canvas
76 × 91 cm (29.9 × 35.8 in)
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, France

Georges de La Tour (1593 - 1652) was a French Baroque painter, who spent most of his working life in the Duchy of Lorraine, near Nancy. He painted mostly religious chiaroscuro scenes lit by candlelight.

La Tour's work shows influences from Caravaggio. La Tour is best known for the nocturnal light effects which he developed much further than his artistic predecessors had done, and transferred their use in the genre subjects in the paintings of the Dutch Caravaggisti, to religious painting in his. Unlike Caravaggio his religious paintings lack dramatic effects.

He was involved in a Franciscan-led religious revival in Lorraine, and over the course of his career he moved to painting almost entirely religious subjects, but in treatments with influence from genre painting. He became an extremely successful master painter during his lifetime. He was given the title "Painter to the King of France" in 1638, and he also worked for the Dukes of Lorraine, local bourgeoisie, and he achieved a certain affluence.

Georges de la Tour and his family died in 1652 in an epidemic in his town. After his death, La Tour's work was forgotten until rediscovered in the twentieth century; some of La Tour's work had in fact been confused with Vermeer.