Nicolas Tournier, Montbéliard 1590 - 1639 Toulouse
Tournier was baptized in 1590 in the small town of Montbéliard in the Franche-Comté, where his parents, Protestants from Besançon, had sought refuge. Virtually nothing is known about his early life and training, though it is likely he was initially trained by his father and uncle, who were both painters. It is not known when he left Montbéliard or arrived in Rome, but archival documentation places him in the Eternal City between 1619 and 1626. He then returned to France and is documented in Carcassonne in 1627. From 1632 he was based in Toulouse, but also worked throughout the region, in Carcassonne and Narbonne, for the rest of his career. Together with Nicolas Régnier, Tournier ranks one of the most important French followers of Caravaggio, and an adherent of what the German art historian and painter Joachim von Sandrart dubbed the “Mandrediana Methodus”, whereby individual figures and subjects taken from Caravaggio were mixed and matched, and which effectively used the expressive power of chiaroscuro and the simplification of poses and composition to achieve dramatic intensity.