Art: The Splendid Century

THE history of art is to a certain extent one long series of rehabilitations. As styles change, men and periods slip into comparative obscurity, and a later age whisks them back into favor. So it has been to a large degree with the art of France in the 17th century—a century that for a long time seemed too staid and static for modern tastes. Since World War II, museums on both sides of the Atlantic have been fighting for the few surviving works of the 17th century master Georges de La Tour. Last summer, the Louvre put on the biggest exhibit...

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