Georges de La Tour

Quignard, Author Editions Flohic $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-2-908958-00-3
French novelist Quignard thoughtfully examines the life and work of 17th-century painter Georges de la Tour, well-known during his lifetime but virtually forgotten until the beginning of this century. To illustrate the painter's aesthetics, the author interprets the writings of de la Tour's contemporary Jacques Esprit: ``The passion of the first sin caused everything in us to degenerate.'' More importantly, in relation to the artist's work, ``man perceives only the shadow of his true desire, and hastens towards the obscure, unsubstantialsic area that the sun or the flames leave behind.'' De la Tour's candle-lit paintings illuminate scenes that take place out of the world, ``when . . . an empty thought, an inward look, makes us dwell on ourselves.'' Most affecting are the two versions of the contemplative Repentant Magdalene , in front of a mirror but not looking into it, her hands resting on a skull, and The Ecstasy of Saint Francis, in which the saint has fallen into a trance, his face and body seized by beatitude. Quignard's analysis is vague but suggestive, endowing de la Tour's work with a quiet mystery that seems entirely appropriate. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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