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

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

Artwork Information

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

About St. Thomas

The artwork titled “St. Thomas” is an oil on canvas painting by French artist Georges de la Tour, estimated to have been created circa 1615 – 1620. This piece is emblematic of the Tenebrism movement, characterized by dramatic illumination and a pronounced contrast between light and dark. De la Tour is renowned for his religious paintings, and this work continues to stand as a testament to his mastery in capturing spiritual and emotional intensity.

The artwork portrays St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, in a moment of profound contemplation. The saint is depicted in close-up, his face occupying a significant portion of the canvas, showing his furrowed brow and intense gaze as if he is immersed in deep thought. His right hand solemnly clutches a spear, presumably a symbol of his martyrdom, while his left hand holds the shaft, contributing to the painting’s dynamic composition and hinting at the narrative of his faith and ultimate sacrifice.

De la Tour’s use of light accentuates the tactile quality of St. Thomas’s weathered skin, his expressive eyes, and his unkempt beard, all rendered with meticulous attention to detail. The use of chiaroscuro, the contrast between the dark backdrop and the strategically illuminated figure, not only emphasizes the materiality of the subject but also conveys a sense of psychological introspection and divine revelation. Through this approach, de la Tour imbues the painting with an intense emotional depth that engages the viewer on both a visual and a contemplative level.

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