La Tour, Maurice Quentin de

La Tour, Maurice Quentin de

(mōrēs` käNtăN` də lä to͞or), 1704–88, French portraitist working in pastel. From 1737 to 1773 he exhibited at the Salon portraits of considerable technical virtuosity and psychological penetration. They brought him an immense and continuing popularity. Among his famous sitters were Louis XV, Mme de Pompadour, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Marshal de Saxe. Most of his work is in the Louvre and in the museum of his native Saint-Quentin.


See biography by A. Bury (1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

La Tour, Maurice Quentin de


Born Sept. 5, 1704, in St. Quentin, Île-de-France; died there Feb. 17, 1788. French painter, working primarily in pastel.

From 1724, La Tour lived in Paris. His work consists primarily of formal portraits in which fine gradations of pastel shades reflect fleeting facial nuances, thus revealing the “inner life” of the subjects. Studies of faces (his préparations, most of which are in the Lecúyer Museum, St. Quentin) and self-portraits assumed particular importance in La Tour’s mature work. The artist, emphasizing the lyric and vibrant in his portraiture, often depicted public figures, philosophers, artists, and actresses of the Age of Enlightenment. (Portrait of Jean le Rond D’Alembert, 1753, Louvre, Paris; a sketch is in the Lecúyer Museum).


Zolotov, Iu. K. Latur. Moscow, 1960.
Leroy, A. Maurice Quentin de La Tour et la société française du XVIII siècle. Paris, 1953.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.