Georges de La Tour: 5 things to know about his life

Georges de La Tour | St. Joseph

Georges de La Tour, Joseph the Carpenter- Louvre

GEORGES DE LA TOUR: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT HIS LIFE

All over the world the works attributed to Georges de La Tour are little more than 30, and none is housed in Italy.
But his paintings possess the same passion and theatricality of Caravaggio’s works.

Did Georges de La Tour and Caravaggio meet or did the French artist see Michelangelo Merisi’s works in Italy?
Little is known about the life and career of this artist which seems to have been successful.
In this post I’ll tell you his biography, or at least what is known, in 5 points.

The life of Georges de La Tour in 5 points

Magdalene with the Smoking Flame | Georges de la Tour

Georges de la Tour, Magdalene with the Smoking Flame (Louvre).

1. WHEN GEORGES DE LA TOUR WAS BORN

Georges de La Tour was born in Vic-sur-Seille, in the Duchy of Lorraine, in 1593.
Little is known about his life, but what is certain is that his father was a baker.
We don’t know his educational background, but it is assumed that he began his apprenticeship in the early 17th century, maybe at the engraver Alphonse de Rambervilliers’s workshop in the city of Vicand and maybe he met the artist Jacques Bellange.

2. THE INFLUENCE OF CARAVAGGIO’S PAINTING

Many scholars, in fact, suppose that de La Tour admired at a short distance Caravaggio’s painting thanks to a trip to Italy.
Actually, we don’t know if that really happened, but he was certainly fascinated by the dramatic use of chiaroscuro he could admire in copies and prints of works by Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio, and his followers.
Caravaggio’s fame and works was spreading all around Europe in the early 17th century, allowing many artists to experiment and perfect the technique of balance between light and dark in paintings.

3. GEORGES DE LA TOUR’S SUCCESS

In 1617 he married Diane Le Nerf, born to a wealthy family of silversmiths of Lunéville, and settled down in his wife’s hometown.
It was in Lunéville that the artist established his studio starting from 1626, working for important clients and also for the Dukes of Lorraine.
Between 1638 and 1639 the painter was called to Paris to paint some works for cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIII.

4. WHEN GEORGES DE LA TOUR DIED

The french artist had a successful but short career.
In fact he died on January 31st 1652, only two weeks after his wife, maybe of an epidemic disease.

5. THE REVIVAL OF HIS ART AND WORKS

After his death de La Tour was forgot for a long time, until in 1915 the German Hermann Voss published an article about his work.
It seems nearly impossible that he has been ignored for two centuries and his works are almost unknown but, at last, now you can admire his paintings and begin to find out something more about his life.

Georges de La Tour | Maddalena Penitente | Metropolitan Museum of Art

Georges de La Tour, Maddalena Penitente – Metropolitan Museum of Art

BOOKS TO BETTER KNOW THE LIFE AND WORKS OF GEORGE DE LA TOUR

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