Paper II - Mary Magdalene with a Smoking Flame By Georges...

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Mary Magdalene with a Smoking Flame By Georges de La Tour Kiana Henley Reed Anderson Western Art II April 8, 2014
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Mary Magdalene with a Smoking Flame is a very quiet yet powerful piece. Its somber atmosphere is best aided by the candlelight that veils the painting. The lighting is very Caravaggio-esque or tenebristic. There is a very high contrast created by the strong, single light source of the candle. This painting by Georges de La Tour differs from Caravaggio’s work in that the light source is visible, while in most of Caravaggio’s paintings it is hidden. The flame casts a strong highlight on the objects closest to it: the jar holding the candle, the books on the table, the frontal and protruding points of Mary Magdalene’s body, and finally the skull that rests in her lap. The flame’s light disperses from the candle, starting as a bright glow and diffusing into a somber haze. This haze consumes the rest of the painting until it terminates along with the edges
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