Earliest liar portrait

  The splendor of the Renaissance, although it is a prominent bright spot in the history of art, especially the history of painting, it still has its shortcomings, one of which is that the subject matter of the picture is almost all taken from Greek and Roman mythology, “Bible” stories and other Myths and legends rarely involve reality, especially the lives of the lower classes. This situation began to break through at the end of the 16th century, and realist art represented by the Italian painter Caravaggio appeared. In the early 17th century, realist painters represented by the Renan brothers and Georges de Latour appeared in France. The latter’s “The Seer,” written around the 1630s and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is a shining example of this. Its appearance also caused a major storm in France.
  In 1960, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States purchased the representative work of the French 17th-century painter Latour (1593-1652) at a high price. When the news came out, it immediately caused a strong reaction in France. Critics proclaimed it “an irreparable loss to the French artistic heritage” and a “despicable victory for the money deal”, causing dissatisfaction among the masses. After receiving this news, the Minister of Culture, Andrew Malraux, was very disturbed and immediately reported to Congress to explain and admit that this was a major mistake in the outflow of national treasures. But at the same time, he also stated: Latour is a painter we know little about so far. We only know bits and pieces of his life and this few nighttime paintings. His daytime paintings have never appeared, although the upper right corner of the picture has the author’s Signed, but some experts believe that it is a fake, an oil painting restorer named Delobule, simulated with a 17th-century canvas and paint formula, so it is approved for release. The so-called nighttime painting refers to the nighttime scenery painted by the painter under the candles, oil lamps and other artificial light, often with a strong contrast between light and dark, the key parts are prominent, and the minor details are completely lost in the darkness. This is a major feature that is unique to Latour’s paintings. His 1640 “Mary Magdalene before the Oil Lamp” is a good example. According to “Bible” legend, Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who was influenced by Jesus. Now she is sitting and meditating in the dim candlelight. Viewers can only see her penitent face in contemplation, her breathing undulating chest and a dead man’s skull on her legs and two scriptures on the table. Life is too short, and the theme of turning back to shore is very prominent. Other backgrounds and props were swallowed up by the night god. Therefore, the picture is very concise, and it also forms his so-called black and white contrasting geometric style. Some say it may be the harbinger of 20th century Cubism. After explaining “Night Painting”, let’s turn the topic back to “The Female Diviner”.
  Seriously, before 1960, very few people knew about this painting. Its existence is only known to very few concerned people. Its initial attention has to start with an accidental story. During World War II in 1942, a monograph on Latour accidentally reached the hands of a French prisoner of war in a German concentration camp. One of the drawings in the book, “The Diviner”, reminded the Frenchman that he had seen this oil painting on the walls of his uncle’s castle. After the war, he was liberated and went to his uncle’s house to ask a priest who knew art to appraise the painting. The latter believed that it was indeed Latour’s genuine work, and informed the relevant personnel in the Louvre of the news. They immediately sent someone to identify and discuss the purchase. However, due to differences of opinion, the transaction was not completed. At this time, the art dealer George Wildenstein suddenly stepped in and won the painting at a high price of 7.5 million francs and kept it in his hands for 10 years. At that time, few people knew that the painting was smuggled out, and it was sold at a higher price. When the price is sold to the Metropolitan Museum, it immediately becomes a hundredfold.
  In the form of a close-up, the picture prominently depicts a man, four women and five people standing in the foreground. At the very center is a young man, well-dressed in gold and silver. Judging from the baby’s face, he was only sixteen or seventeen years old at most, probably a college student who had just entered the school. Without the surroundings, it would be difficult to see where the incident took place, perhaps a corner of a busy market near the school. From the clothing point of view, the four women are clearly gypsies. 3 wear different hats, indicating that they are all married, and only one is Rapunzel. The Gypsies in the 17th century were a group of people who did not do farming or raising meat-eating livestock. They lived a wandering life without a fixed place, or drove a caravan to sell arts, or worked as small traders and hawkers to make a living. Men tame animals, mend pots, act as musicians, women fortune-tellers sell medicines, and even become prostitutes. The story in the painting was clearly a deception common at the time. A wrinkled old gypsy woman who can speak Bodhisattva and is good at abduction is taking gold coins from the young man, which is not only her reward, but also an indispensable tool for her divination. It is said that the soothsayer first used a coin to make a cross on the palm of the seeker’s hand. Gold and silver coins are the most spiritual, showing respect for God. Bronze coins come next, and in the end they all belong to the fortune-tellers. Now the old witch had a serious expression, as if he was talking to the young man about something very pleasant and able to attract his attention. The hooded female partner next to her took this opportunity and squinted at the young man while using pliers to slightly cut off the gold necklace on his chest, stealing his gold medal. And the dark-skinned woman in light-colored clothes on the far left is also gently putting a hand into the youth’s coat pocket and taking out his wallet. The dark-haired girl beside her seemed to be a novice. She also learned what to do with youth. A deception is going on unknowingly. Youth are destined to be their victims.
  Fraud and theft were common and frequent phenomena among Gypsies at that time. Spanish writer Cervantes once made a merciless evaluation of this in his “Gypsy Girl”. He sadly wrote: “They seem to have been born into this world for one purpose – to steal. They were born to thieves’ parents, raised by thieves’ parents, and they went to school to be thieves, and eventually became masters of the art of stealing.”
  This reality was also depicted in many paintings at that time. Such as the Italian painter Caravaggio’s painting of the same name “The Diviner”. In the painting, a young gypsy girl is looking at a palmistry for a luxuriously dressed, smug, pretentious creampie. She held each other’s hand while squinting her with teasing and cunning eyes. That smiling, silently teasing demeanor made the young man who was not deeply involved in the world lingered, staring at the seductive smiling face. The gypsy girl took this opportunity to put her right hand on the young man’s palm again, and said something while stroking, and dexterously used two fingers to gently loosen his golden ring. Judging from the youth’s extremely vain and naive expression, he has fallen deeply into the trap, and its final outcome is self-evident.