Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: La Tour’s Joseph

Joseph the Carpenter, Georges de La Tour

Joseph the Carpenter, Georges de La Tour; oil on canvas; roughly 54 x 40 in (137 x 101 cm) Link is to image page on Wikimedia Commons. Original is listed as being in the Louvre (though I can’t find it in a search of the Louvre’s online database).

17th century French painter Georges de La Tour was known for his scenes lit by candlelight, the source for which was sometimes open, and sometimes obscured by a hand or other object, as in this painting.

Given his overall tendency for naturalistic rendering and lighting, and the way he has presented candle flames in other paintings, I find his representation of the candle flame in this painting particularly odd. Perhaps, given that the candle is held by a young Jesus, it as some religious significance. I don’t know.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: La Tour’s Joseph”

  1. The tall thing rising above the boy’s hand is simply a reflector for the candle. A piece of the candle flame and wick can be seen off the front edge of the hand, positioning it just a bit anterior to the tall structure, which would be expected if the candle were being held in a holder with a reflector backing.
    At least that’s the way it appears to me.

    1. Thanks, James. Makes perfect sense.