George de la Tour’s “The Card-Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds” and Drawings by Pisanello Join The Louvre and the Masterpiece
The High Museum of Art recently welcomed a 17th-century painting to “The Louvre and the Masterpiece,” as well as 12 drawings by the artist Pisanello. George de la Tour’s “The Card-Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds,” a work that has never been seen in the southeastern United States, will be on view at the Museum through September 6, 2009. The Pisanello drawings will be on view through May 10, 2009, when they will be replaced by a group of prints from the Louvre’s famous Edmond de Rothschild Collection, including works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Antonio Pollaiulo, and Martin Schongauer.
George de la Tour’s “The Card-Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds”
George de la Tour’s “The Card-Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds” was discovered in Paris between 1925 and 1930 by Pierre Landry, a French tennis player and art collector. It was acquired by the Musée du Louvre in 1972. The action of “The Card-Sharp” takes place in a tavern during a game of cards. The wealthy young man at right is about to become the victim of the older man sitting opposite, shown withdrawing an ace of diamonds from under his belt. The cheat is depicted against the light; he looks out cunningly, as if to involve the viewer in his dishonesty. The courtesan seated in the middle appears to be acting in collusion with the servant, who offers a glass of wine. The artist’s brilliant use of light—illuminating the figures against the darkness—heightens the drama and tension of the scene. Although this painting appears to depict a scene from everyday life, it bears a moral similar to the parable of the Prodigal Son: the game of cards, the wine, and the courtesan are all assembled here to bring about the ruin of the naïve youth.
The French painter Georges de La Tour (French, 1593–1652) was very successful in his time. He received many important commissions from the French aristocracy and in 1639, was appointed court painter to King Louis XIII. However, soon after his death La Tour’s style fell out of fashion and he was virtually forgotten. In 1914, a German art historian rediscovered La Tour’s work and published a short study. The artist’s pared-down geometric compositions soon found renewed appreciation with a twentieth-century audience. Though only about sixty paintings are attributed to him today, La Tour is now the most recognizable of all the seventeenth-century French masters.
In 1856 the Louvre acquired the so-called “Codex Vallardi,” a bound album containing 482 drawings attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). At the time, connoisseurship of Leonardo’s drawings was just beginning and many mistaken attributions were made. Today, only seven of the drawings from the Codex are accepted as being by da Vinci. Among the others, about forty are attributed to the circle of Leonardo and to other sixteenth-century artists. The rest are by Antonio Pisanello, a gifted painter from Pisa who had fallen into obscurity. Twelve of these drawings are now on view at the High.
Forgotten for nearly 400 years, Pisanello was one of the most revered Italian artists of his day. He worked for the most important courts in Italy—the Visconti in Milan, the Este in Ferrara, the Gonzaga in Mantua, and for the King of Naples, Alfonso V of Aragon. Unfortunately, only a handful of Pisanello’s works survived, just four paintings, three frescoes, and the drawings currently on view, many of which reveal the artist’s groundbreaking use of foreshortening to accurately render figures in space. Today, Pisanello is counted alongside Leonardo as one of the greatest draftsmen of all time.
The Louvre and the Masterpiece
In the final year of “Louvre Atlanta,” “The Louvre and the Masterpiece” explores how the definition of a “masterpiece,” as well as taste and connoisseurship, has changed over time. The exhibition features ninety-one works of art drawn from all eight of the Musée du Louvre’s collection areas, spanning 4,000 years. Paintings, sculpture, decorative arts and drawings reflect three major themes: the changing historical and cultural definitions of a masterpiece, authenticity and connoisseurship, and the evolution of taste and scholarship. In addition to text labels, audio guides and docent tours, the exhibitions are enhanced by interactive tools organized by the High, together with MuseumLab, an international alliance initiated by the Louvre for which the High serves as the only U.S. partner.
The High Museum of Art launched its unprecedented three-year partnership with the Musée du Louvre in October 2006 to critical acclaim, continuing the High’s long-standing strategy of collaborating with international institutions to bring great art to Atlanta. “Louvre Atlanta” is bringing hundreds of works of art from Paris to Atlanta through a series of long-term thematic exhibitions exploring the range, depth, and historic development of the Louvre’s collections. “Louvre Atlanta” opened on October 14, 2006, with the exhibitions “Kings as Collectors,” “The King’s Drawings” and “Faces of History and Myth: Busts from the Musée du Louvre.” For its second year, exhibitions included “The Louvre and the Ancient World,” “The Eye of Josephine,” and “Houdon at the Louvre: Masterworks from the Enlightenment.” On January 30, 2009, the High welcomed the 1-millionth visitor to “Louvre Atlanta.”
Lead patronage for the project has been provided by longtime High Museum Board Member Anne Cox Chambers. Accenture is the Presenting Partner. UPS, Turner Broadcasting Corporation, the Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines and AXA Art Insurance are Lead Corporate Partners for “Louvre Atlanta.” The Foundation Partner is The Sara Giles Moore Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Forward Arts Foundation, Frances B. Bunzl and Tull Charitable Foundation. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The Rich Foundation serves as Planning Partner for the partnership. This project is supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone