Thursday, March 20, 2014

GEORGES DE LA TOUR'S WHODUNIT

The stage is set: someone is about to be robbed. It's a play of whodunit and the clues are in the eyes and the hands.  Follow them and you will figure out the hoax.
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs, ca. 1630-34
Oil on canvas 97.8 x 156.2 cm
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, AP 1981.06
THE CHEAT WITH THE ACE OF CLUBS
Who is the cheat and who is being cheated? Take a close look by clicking on:
Zoom in on the eyes; some people seem to have two focal points!
A young maid is serving wine to the woman wearing feathers and pearls.
Is she going to drink the wine or pass it along?
She is pointing to the man on the left with her index finger.  Is she sending a signal as a way to cheat?
What is the man on the left hiding behind his back? 
Can you spot his coins?
There is one person who can look at everyone’s cards without being noticed. Who is it?
No one is speaking. By sending secret signals to each other, they are playing the hoax.    

The Fortune Teller, probably 1630s

Signed and inscribed: (upper right) G. de La Tour Fecit Luneuilla Lothar: (Lunéville Lorraine); (on young man's watch chain) AMOR (love) FIDES (faith)
Oil on canvas; 101.9 x 123.5 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1960 (60.30)

THE FORTUNE TELLER
Zoom in on the picture by clicking:
What is happening to the elegant young man who is having his fortune told by an old gypsy?  
He is sandwiched between four women.  
The pretty one is snipping something off with clippers. What is it?  
Why are her eyes fixed on the man?
What are the women doing on the left?
The woman with dark hair in the back is ready to receive something in her hand.
Is the fool noticing anything or is he so eager to know his fortune that he is losing one?
Can you spot the AMOR (love) and FIDES (faith) inscription on the watch chain?

Georges de la Tour is sending us a coded message in both paintings-what do you think it is?

GEORGES DE LA TOUR
The artist lived in a small French town and painted such wonderful pictures that king Louis XIV made him his first painter. He paints in a style called Baroque, where artists often tell a dramatic story. The colors are rich and there are sharp contrasts (the edge between light and dark).  Georges de la Tour was forgotten for about 400 years after his death. Now people love his paintings again for the exciting stories he tells and the way he applies gorgeous, warm colors. The background in his paintings is always simple and plain. He builds up the paint with careful brushstrokes and applies glazes for luminosity and highlights at the end.  He admired Caravaggio, who painted The Cardsharps about 35 years earlier:
Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi), Italian (1571–1610)
The Cardsharps, ca. 1595
Oil on canvas, 94.2 x 130.9 cm
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, AP 1987.06

You can view previous issues and post your comments on www.oldmastersrock.com.  Please tell me how you feel about the paintings. Thank you!



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