GEORGES DE LA TOUR. L’Europa della luce​​

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The Royal Palace in Milan is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Georges de La Tour, the most famous French painter of the seventeenth century, exploring his relations with the great masters of his timeThis is a unique exhibition, considering that, as Roberto Longhi pointed out, not one of the 40 or so works attributed with certainty to the Maestro are housed in Italy. Of these, 15 are on display at this exhibition, plus one more that has been attributed to him.Georges de la Tour (Vic‐sur‐Seille, 1593‐ Lunéville, 1652) is one of the great artistic “finds” of the 20th century. Since 1915, the year when Hermann Voss published a revelatory article on La Tour’s work in Germany, the seventeenth‐century French painter has continued to arouse awe in entire generations of art historians, who have long since been searching for documents, paintings and preparatory drawings that cast light on the work of this extraordinary, exciting, ground‐breaking artist. 

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Maddalena penitente

Georges de La Tour​​​ Maddalena penitente, 1635 – 1640 Olio su tela, 113 x 92,7 cm National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Stati Uniti

The masterpieces in the exhibition feature the moving emotional intensity of his Penitent Magdalene (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., ca. 1635‐1640). In addition to this version, at least three others attributed to La Tour are known, housed respectively at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Louvre. Unlike his contemporaries, who exalted her voluptuousness and popular extraction, the Lorraine‐born painter plunges Mary Magdalene into an austere interior, bringing out her dark, straight hair and the sharp contours of her face in the half‐light of the candle. Instead of turning her eyes heavenwards, Magdalene wears the absorbed gaze of somebody who is deeply immersed in meditation. The slender, flickering flame of the candle and the small mirror reiterate the ephemeral nature of physical and this earthly life. In La Tour’s interpretation, Maddalena is a young woman struggling with her past who carries all the weight of human transience upon her shoulders.

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