The Descent from the Cross
Originally from Montbéliard (SE France), Nicolas Tournier was one of the key players in the European Caravaggesque movement between 1619 at the latest and 1627. He then moved to the Languedoc region, like many artists originally from the Franche Comté area. In Toulouse he painted for Saint Etienne Cathedral and for the Brotherhood of the Black Penitents, developing a ‘cleaner’, sleeker style towards the end of his life. This piece was most probably painted at the beginning of the 1630’s at a time when Tournier was still under the influence of Italian painting. The striking idea of the hands of an invisible figure grasping the cross add to the gravity and emotional poignancy of the composition.