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Georges de La Tour and the Enigma of the Visible$
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Dalia Judovitz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277438

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277438.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 16 October 2019

The Visible and the Legible

The Visible and the Legible

(p.47) Chapter 3 The Visible and the Legible
Georges de La Tour and the Enigma of the Visible

Dalia Judovitz

Fordham University Press

This chapter is focused on recurrent representations of books and acts of reading as pictorial subject matter in La Tour’s works. Several scenes of reading are examined starting with St. Jerome reading a letter, the Virgin Mary learning how to read, St. Joseph’s falling asleep while reading, and St. Alexis identified after his death on basis of a letter he holds in his hands. It presents an analysis of the ways words determine how we see and the role of reading as a figure for spiritual illumination understood as a way of seeing that challenges the realm of painterly expression. La Tour’s appeal to the word and the legible casts doubt on knowledge attained through vision in its reliance on visual signs. Indeed, reading as a figure for spiritual illumination challenges and opens up a conceptual redefinition of the visual realm of painterly expression.

Keywords:   St. Alexis, St. Jerome, St. Joseph, legible, reading and seeing, spiritual illumination, Virgin Mary, visible, visual knowledge, word and image

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