George de La Tour ranks with Vermeer and the Le Nain brothers among those seventeenth-century painters whose unmistakable talent is matched only by the aura of mystery that surrounds the artists themselves. Forgotten for years and rediscovered at the beginning of the twentieth century, this artist is now recognized as one of the greatest French painters of the seventeenth century. Jaques Thuillier's groundbreaking monograph, first published in 1993, places La Tour's oeuvre in the specific context of the Lorraine region where he lived and worked, but also repositions La Tour alongside the greatest European masters.
Using original correspondence, archival documents, and image x-rays, Thuillier carefully constructs a picture of the artist's life and practices. La Tour created a highly personal form of realism that displays a rare poetic beauty. The attention to detail in the artist's paintings, from the dirt under a saint's fingernails to the wavering flame of a girl's candle, is highlighted in full page close-ups, while the works are put into context by color reproductions of etchings and paintings that influenced, and were influenced by, La Tour.
Available for the first time in a nonabridged compact edition, this beautifully designed volume, complete with an illustrated catalogue, bibliography, and translations of key documentary sources, remains the essential reference work on this important and fascinating artist.