Georges de la Tour – Le Tricheur a l’As de Carreau

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Posted September 6th, 2013

In 1915 Hermann Voss published an article on Georges de La Tour, whose work was forgotten since his death, marking the beginnings of scholarly research on him but also making him known. The Cheat was featured in 1934 in the exhibition called Peintres de la réalité, provoking a revival of Georges de La Tour.
La Tour’s educational background is still unclear, but it is assumed that he travelled either to Italy or the Netherlands at the beginning of his career. He got some influences from Caravaggio through the Dutch Caravaggisti of the Utrecht School and other Northerm.
La Tour developed nocturnal light effects, the louder feature by him. He painted some genre but mainly religious scenes, but his religious paintings lack dramatic effects, unlike Caravaggio. His work moves during his career towards greater simplicity and stillness.
The theme of the painting was a common motive used by Caravaggio, as in his Cardsharps. In La Tour’s Cheat the four figures seem to be suspended in time. The two players on the left, a courtesan and his accomplice, who is discreetly producing an ace of diamonds from under his belt, are cheating the lavishly dressed figure on the right, a rich young man. A forth figure, a maidservant, looks askance at the scene

This painting by Georges de la Tour takes influence from Caravaggio in two senses: the use of the chiaroscuro and the theme of the cheat. La Tour’s work was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century.

Credits

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Georges de la Tour Le Tricheur a l'As de Carreau Ca. 1635 Oil on Canvas 106 x 146 cm Louvre, Paris, France Louvre, Paris, France / Photo Giraudon / The Bridgeman Art Library