Tears of St. Peter (1646 – 1648) by Georges de la Tour

Tears of St. Peter - Georges de la Tour - 1646 - 1648

Artwork Information

TitleTears of St. Peter
ArtistGeorges de la Tour
Date1646 - 1648
Art MovementTenebrism

About Tears of St. Peter

The artwork titled “Tears of St. Peter” is a religious painting by Georges de la Tour, created during the period between 1646 and 1648. Executed in oil on canvas, the artwork is a notable example of the Tenebrism art movement, which is characterized by stark contrasts between light and dark. This particular genre of painting is reflective of the artist’s focus on themes of penitence and devotion.

In “Tears of St. Peter,” an emotional depth is conveyed through the depiction of Peter, one of the apostles. The scene captures a somber moment of reflection and repentance, as indicated by the title. The composition is dominated by a lantern that radiates a soft, yet intense light, illuminating the scene and casting Peter’s facial expression in sharp relief against the dark background. The figure of Peter is portrayed with great sensitivity, with tears visible on his face, suggesting a moment of profound sorrow and contrition.

De la Tour’s mastery of chiaroscuro is evident in how the light sculpts the form and features of St. Peter, enhancing the texture of his skin and the wrinkles that speak to his age and the weight of his emotional state. The use of shadow and light not only highlights the emotional gravity of the moment but also creates a dramatic and intimate atmosphere that invites contemplation. The artwork’s religious significance, combined with its strong emotive power and the technical skill of the artist, makes it an enduring piece of religious art from the Baroque period.

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