Georges de La Tour Biography
La Tour was a French painter of religious and genre subjects, best known for his night scene paintings of dark interiors illuminated by candlelight.
La Tour was born in Vic, a small town in the duchy of Lorraine. The evidence of his paintings suggests that La Tour was influenced by the Italian master Caravaggio, known for his dramatic lighting effects, and by the Dutch masters Hendrick Terbrugghen and Gerrit van Honthorst, leaders of the tenebroso (shadowy) style.
La Tour’s night scene paintings are often lit by a single emphatic light source, such as a torch or candle. La Tour was particularly effective in exploiting the resulting strong contrasts of light and shadow for expressive effect, as in St. Sebastian Tended by St. Irene (1649?, Staatliche Museen, Berlin), where the striking colors of the painting are vividly dramatized by the strong light of a large candle.
La Tour’s daylight scene paintings most often depict religious subjects and exhibit exquisite attention to detail. La Tour paintings throughout his career are characterized by balanced composition, simplified volumetric shapes, and a precise, uncluttered realism. His solemn simplicity reflected the classicism of 17th century art but had little in common with the emerging baroque style, and La Tour paintings was forgotten after his death; La Tour's reputation was not revived until the 20th century.