Artibus et Historiae no. 11 (VI)

1985, ISSN 0391-9064

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CARLO DEL BRAVO - Night-Light Paintings. Georges de La Tour and St. Augustine

The author recalls works with night scenes of artists in the Cinquecento and the Seicento, and their different approaches to them. Then he deals with works following the Neo-Platonic concept of Grace (Guercino, Saraceni, Poussin in his drawings) and especially the ones for which the candle may be thought of as the symbol of intelligence (Adam de Coster, Gerard Seghers, but especially Terbrugghen, Stomer, Jacomo - formerly identified with Trophime Bigot - and Georges de La Tour). Linking the meanings in various works of these artists, the author gradually reconstructs on Augustinian theological reasoning.

From the point of view of ethics Terbrugghen seems to be cynical, Stomer stoic, while Georges de La Tour, from his way of teaching and his aspiration to the purity of the Primitive Church, seems to be close to Port-Royal. In the artists the theme of St. Sebastian healed would seem to refer to the concealing of the faith, quite precisely one of the key notes i the story of the Saint.

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