St. Philippe (c.1615 – c.1620) by Georges de la Tour

St. Philippe - Georges de la Tour - c.1615 - c.1620

Artwork Information

TitleSt. Philippe
ArtistGeorges de la Tour
Datec.1615 - c.1620
Art MovementTenebrism

About St. Philippe

The artwork titled “St. Philippe” was created by Georges de la Tour, a renowned French artist, sometime between circa 1615 and circa 1620. It is an oil painting on canvas that beautifully exemplifies the Tenebrist style, which is characterized by dramatic contrasts of light and shadow. This religious painting is a testament to de la Tour’s mastery of this technique and his contribution to the art movement. The subject matter is inherently spiritual, capturing a moment of solemn reflection or prayer.

The artwork portrays a bearded saint, presumably Saint Philip, engaged in deep contemplation. He is depicted with an aged face that bears a tranquil yet intense expression. The saint’s eyes are cast downward, suggesting a moment of inward meditation or a humble appeal to the divine. He is garbed in a dark cloak over a red garment—a striking combination that allows for a rich interplay of colors within the dark tonality of the piece. His hands are clasped around the base of a wooden staff, implying perhaps his apostolic mission or his resolve.

Saint Philip’s visage is illuminated by a light source that is not visible within the frame, creating a chiaroscuro effect—a hallmark of Tenebrist works. This lighting adds a profound sense of dimension and form to his features, accentuating the texture of his beard, the folds of his clothing, and the aged lines of his hands. The dark background and the shadows enveloping his figure further heighten the intimate atmosphere of the artwork. Through nuanced use of light and shadow, Georges de la Tour has succeeded in conveying the depth of the saint’s spiritual experience, making “St. Philippe” a captivating example of religious painting from the 17th century.

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