Georges de la Tour in Madrid
Georges de La Tour (1993-1652), Old Man, 1618-1619. Photo: Wikiart
Georges de La Tour (1993-1652) has only recently been discovered. Little is known of his early training in the city of Vic-sur-Seille in Lorraine (France), which he must have completed around 1610 when he was aged about 17. Subsequent documentation reveals him as a financially successful painter, living from 1620 in Lunéville, professionally renowned, but with a violent and brusque character. At the end of his career La Tour was appointed painter to Louis XIII. La Tour lived at a crucial period for the history of Lorraine, with commissions of the Duke of Lorraine, until he chose for the French occupier King Louis XIII, who conquered Lorraine and which culminated with the loss of the duchy’s political independence. Within this context the artist evolved a painting of surprising lyricism, particularly in his nocturnal scenes, nearly all of them religious. These are almost monochrome works with monumental forms, filled with solitude and silence. Most of his pictures have no signatory and are not dated. This explains his late recognition a Great Master. His come back came in 1915 when the art historian Hermann Voss identified three of his paintings and afterwards in 1934 at the occasion of the exposition “Les peintres de la réalité en France au XVII siècle” in the Orangerie (Paris). The breakthrough came in 1972 when the first monographic exhibition about his works was organized in Paris.