Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Georges de La Tour and the Enigma of the Visible$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Dalia Judovitz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277438

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277438.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

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: 23 October 2019

Flea Catching and the Vanity of Painting

Flea Catching and the Vanity of Painting

(p.65) Chapter 4 Flea Catching and the Vanity of Painting
Georges de La Tour and the Enigma of the Visible

Dalia Judovitz

Fordham University Press

This chapter is devoted to an exploration of the role of painting as an instrument of intercession for attaining spiritual insight. Is the supposed “flea” catcher really holding a flea or a rosary bead in her enclosed hands? No one can really tell. But her ordinary appearance, engaged in the trivial even abject task of catching fleas, takes on spiritual connotations when considered in light of the possibility of her holding a rosary. Her familiar appearance acts as a visual gateway that opens onto the spiritual and the sacred. La Tour’s depictions of “blowers of light” help illuminate how painting may ignite and sustain spiritual passions. Imbued with light and the heat of color, the flea catcher’s humble representation is interpreted as a pivotal turning point that alternatively figures both painting’s material limitations and its spiritual aspirations.

Keywords:   “blowers of light”, flea, flea catcher, gateway to the sacred, material versus spiritual, painting as instrument of intercession, rosary beads, sacred and profane, spiritual insight

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .