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Very little is known of his life and most of the attributions to him are speculative, but he seems to have been - with the exception of Georges de La Tour - the most individual and sensitive of French Caravaggesque painters.
He was in Rome c. 1619-26, then is recorded in Carcassonne in 1627 and in Toulouse from 1632. The works attributed to him in his Roman period are genre scenes of music making, dice-playing, etc. (A Musical Party, City Art Museum, St Louis), but after he returned to France he concentrated on religious pictures. There are examples in the Louvre and the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, including a remarkable Battle of Constantine influenced by Piero della Francesca's battle scenes at Arezzo - this at a time when Piero was virtually forgotten. More typical of Tournier's paintings in the museum at Toulouse are The Lamentation and The Entombment, which show the grace and refinement of his style.
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