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By Edward Lucie-Smith

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Having begun Court of Florence, he returned to as a pure Mannerist, he now, in this second phase of his career, begun to turn towards an objective realism, determination to depict life as it really appeared to him. His last a work, a set of plates called the Grandes Miseres de la Guerre, prompted by a French invasion of the Duchy, shows how he mingled compassion with dispassionate observation. Caron had reacted differently to basically similar experiences. 49 42 CLAUDE DERUET Fire l600 Jacques Bellange (active 1600—17) engraver, one who seized Parmigianino and used tion.

The figures are filled with frenetic vitality or with erotic lassitude. The female nudes represent a new type, based on Michelangelo, but elongated, twisted into serpentine poses, with elaborate hairstyles and sudden, fluttering swags of drapery. Rosso also remained capable of his old religious fervour, as can be seen from his beautiful Pieta, now in the Louvre, which was painted for the Constable of France, Anne de Montmorency, and which originally found its place in Montmorency's chapel at Ecouen.

Of 1620-25 them all, and Caravaggio's most gifted was Georges de la Tour (1 593-1652). He is as individual as that other artist from Lorraine, Jacques Bellange. Bellange worked for the ducal Court in Nancy; La Tour spent most of his career in Luneville, where he worked for a prosperous bourgeoisie. It is presumed by art historians that he went either to Italy or to the Low Countries at one point in his life, and on the whole it seems more likely that it was in the north that he came into contact with the ideas of Caravaggio.

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A Concise History of French Painting by Edward Lucie-Smith


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