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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene

Photographer: Paul Macapia

Saint Sebastian Tended by Saint Irene

ca. 1638-39

De La Tour is often mentioned as one of the many followers of Carvaggio (ca. 1571-1610), the Italian artist who pioneered the use of strong contrasts of light and dark to heighten drama and religious feeling in his paintings. Though De La Tour probably never saw a work by Caravaggio, the innovative style spread across Europe, and the French artist first introduced his own version of "tenebrism" in this depiction of a nocturnal scene of deliverance. It was such a popular image that no fewer than a dozen other versions exist. The original painting is probably lost; this example is one of the best of the other versions, and some scholars believe it came directly from his studio and may have had his direct participation.
Oil on canvas
42 x 55 7/8 in. (106.7 x 142cm)
Gift of Richard and Elizabeth Hedreen in honor of Mimi Gardner Gates
Provenance: England, by 1971; [Julius Weitzner, London]; [Wildenstein & Co., 1972]; private collection; private collection, NY, 1997-?; [Wildestein & Co.]; Richard and Betty Hedreen, Seattle, WA, 2007 - present
Photographer: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryParis, France, Georges de La Tour, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, October 3, 1997- January 26, 1998, no. 31 C4

"Le Saint Sébastien soigné par Irène" de Georges de La Tour, March 10-April 30, 1998, no. 4

The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier, Wildenstein & Co., New York, October 26, 2005-January 6, 2006, cat. 18
Published ReferencesB. Nicolson and C. Wright, Georges de La Tour, London, 1974, p. 186, no. 43F, fig. 62

B. Nicolson, The International Caravaggesque Movement, Oxford, 1979, pp. 65, 241

C. Wright, The French Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Boston, 1985, p. 51

Georges de La Tour and His World, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., p. 144, n. 137, p. 237

J.-P. Cuzin and D. Salmon, Georges de La Tour: histoire d'une redécouverte, Paris, 1997, p. 99

The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier, New York, 2006, p. 114

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