L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Magdalene - four paintings by Georges de La Tour

From the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, circa 1635-37.
The gorgeous light through the sleeve and the oddly simplified, knuckle-less hand....

G and I visited the Portland Art Museum recently. To renew our membership but, more pressingly, to remind ourselves of the layout of the gallery where we'd soon be presenting our "pop-up" event for The Untold Gaze, as part of the amazing Portland Book Festival (formerly Wordstock.) While upstairs in the galleries that feature the Pre-Impressionist European paintings and sculpture, we noticed the special display of the visiting LACMA Mary Magdalene by Georges de La Tour, something I'd very much wanted to see, but had forgotten would be there. And I was so glad not to have missed it; it is even more beautiful than I'd imagined. Really, a quite remarkable painting. Exquisite, profound. Impossible to adequately describe, impossible to adequately reproduce; the image here is nothing to the actual painting. Reading more about it later, I realized that there are actually four known paintings on this subject by de La Tour, the one in the Louvre being only a very slight variation on the Los Angeles version.

From the collection of the Louvre, circa 1640-45. The position of the feet is the most noticeable difference between this and the LACMA painting.


From the collection of the National Gallery of Art. circa, 1635-40.


From the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, circa 1640.
The most exquisite, tender profil perdu....


  1. Thank you for the time you take to share all those beautiful pictures with people like me who love visual art and images. Ancient painters were truly masters of their craft, and also courageous persistent workers when we come to think of all the furniture we have access to these days and which were unavailable to them. Imagine all the paintings they would be able to make today...