17th century - France
The 17th century was a veritable golden age in Toulouse, as was reflected in the title of an exhibition presented in Paris and Toulouse in 1946-1947.
The tradition of individual and collective portraits of the capitouls (the governors of Toulouse), in existence since the 14th century, was carried on by Jean Chalette, painter of the very caravaggesque Virgin and Prisoners. Nicolas Tournier, originally from Montbéliard, settled in the Languedoc (SW France) from 1627 to 1639 having previously spent ten years in Rome. The caravaggism of his early work evolved into a disincarnate meditative detachment which was almost abstract. On his return from Italy, Rivalz received a commission from the city authorities for scenes from the mythical history of Toulouse for the Capitole (the town hall), thus bringing the 17th century to a close. His style is a compromise between the classicism of Poussin and the tempered Baroque of Pietro da Cortona.
The museum own jewels of French 17th century painting from outside Toulouse. Judith is one of the masterpieces of Valentin de Boulogne, the greatest of the French caravaggesque painters. The three still lifes by Louise Moillon (from around thirty known still lifes) are among the pearls of Flemish-inspired still life in Paris in the first half of the 17th century.
Jacques Stella, the friend of Poussin, is represented by three major works. Among the major religious works at the museum, The Martyrdom of St. Andrew by Bourdon, Mignard's Christ with Thorns or Blanchard's The Mourning of Christ should all be mentioned.