The works of Georges de la Tour (1593 – 1652) will be on display at Madrid’s Museo del Prado in a new exhibition. Of his 40 surviving paintings, 31 will showcase the progression of the artist with his use of realist treatment of figures and refined religious scenes.
While the French artist was a celebrated in his day, he was forgotten by the art world till an art historian Hermon Voss rediscovered his work. With only four of his paintings being dated and 18 signed, many of La Tour’s works were credited to other artists such as Zurbaran, Ribera and Velazquez.
The Prado exhibition, which features many pieces on loan from international institutions such as Paris’s Musée du Louvre, California’s J. Paul Getty museum and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, offers a chronological survey of La Tour’s career. He gained considerable fame when the Duke of Lorraine bought some of his works between 1623 and 1624. In 1639 he went to Paris where he was named Painter to the King. In addition to the governor of Lorraine, Richelieu, the architect Le Nôtre and Louis XIII were customers.
In his early career La Tour painted biblical and religious figures with humble appearances as can be seen in the Albi “Apostle” series, four of which are on show in Madrid. At this time he also depicted ragged beggars as in the work “The Pea Eaters.” The exhibition also features “The Money Lender”, which is more refined in character and the artist’s first-known nocturnal scene, which became more prevalent towards the end of his career, almost always lit by candle, with limited range in colors.
Later works on display in Madrid include “The Penitent Saint Jerome” or “The Cardsharps,” which, along with “The Fortune Teller,” are considered essential works by the artist.
The Georges de La Tour exhibition is on display at the Museo del Prado till June 12, 2016. For more information, click here.