The Lighted Candle
Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, created by a Frenchman named, Georges De LA Tour whose painting brought upon my attention. Is a painting consisting with the images of a woman turning away from the sight of the observer and do not incorporate much activity or light. But it does consist of interesting composition of light, darkness, and motive.
When just getting a glimpse of the painting the only attention that is drawn, is the light of the candle and only a partial of the woman s face is lighted. The lighted area seems to captures the women s (Magdalen) thoughtful world as she sits and stares off into the dim wall. By the light of a single candle, the woman’s flesh seems almost translucent. As the dim wall transforms into the dark so does the rest of the surroundings of the painting.
The dark area of the painting seems to have much more detail and a tale about the women. The darkened areas consist of a stack of books, a table, chair, and the women holding the skull on her lap. Her clothing seems to be very revealing as well as comfortable. All of these distinct parts seem to have a different reflective quality from the lighted candle. With such great detail in it and little activity going on, it seems like if the canvas was not produced till after the Renaissance Era.
The date of the painting was provided but with just observing it, it was something different from the world of the Renaissance. It does carry the classical body of the human as well as the naturalism of movement. The way her heavy clothing, smooth flesh, and hair make it natural. Not only is naturalism taking place but there is a sense of proportion and balance with the items on the table and setting. With these characteristics it goes beyond the common brightness of art into a more morbid pondering mind of an individual. Not only is this individual very natural but also does seem to represent an elite social class but rather a common pleasant in the world of own her thoughts.
The woman sitting and pondering off resembles meditation of some kind. It does not resemble any type of religious or academic meditating, so I believe that the purpose was not a religious importance but more of an artist s expression because the size of the painting is not grand nor small. It seems to give a feeling of a peasant s life by presenting the subject into an atmosphere of darkness but only the candle light reflecting on the flesh of her body, making her almost transparent as glass. In this painting he emphasizes the woman s state of mind rather than time. With the simple composition of vertical and horizontal illustrations draws the observer into the world of the woman s thinking world. Not only does the artist bring the life of a peasant to life but also brings a sense of it being real and they re with you, witnessing this account.
The fact that this piece appears to have been a more personal work than a public art work suggest that it was not very popular style of painting. Just looking at the painting does not seem to draw any attention to a crowd but is quit disturbing. When I mentioned not popular I meant by within society not within artist. It seems like artists have a style or technique similar to those they seek observe and learn to perfect it.
Georges De La Tour has this composition that consist of such numerous characteristics that leaves the observer with many questions in mind. The style of darkness versus light leaves the image into an infinite world of meditation. The illustrations seem to take place at night not during the day. With knowing such little about the artist intentions of his style leaves me just concluding with my own observations of his work. The lighted candle seems to gain an importance to the subject to of the painting leaving the motive to be uncertain to me.