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Summary Article: La Tour, Georges de
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(zhôrzh dӘ lä tōr), 1593–1652, French painter. By 1618 he was settled at Lunéville, in his native Lorraine. He bore the title of painter to the king in 1639. La Tour painted religious and genre pictures, many of which show the influence of Dutch modifications of Caravaggio's style. La Tour's early works (1620s) include The Fortune Teller (Metropolitan Mus.) and St. Jerome (Stockholm), both minutely descriptive. A transitional painting, Job and His Wife (épinal), is an early example of La Tour's nocturnal scenes, in which forms are dramatically illuminated by a candle or a hidden light source. In his later works (c.1640–1652), La Tour discarded extraneous detail and reduced figures to simple, sculptural forms rendered in warm colors. Characteristic later paintings are Repentant St. Peter (Cleveland Mus.), Christ and St. Joseph in the Carpenter's Shop (Louvre), The Hurdy-Gurdy Player (Nantes), and St. Sebastian Mourned by St. Irene (Berlin). In 1974 the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. purchased his Magdalen of the Mirror for an estimated $1.5 million.

  • See study by S. M. M. Furness (1949).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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