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Cristo e l'Adultera


Date of Creation


Artistic Movement




Arte Barocca

Oil on canvas







Catalogue Raisonné



€ 110,000.00


The painting unfolds on a horizontal plane, forcefully placing the figure of Christ at the center, leaning down to write on the dust of the temple slabs the well-known teaching: "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her" (John 8:1-11), following the request of the Pharisees who wanted to put him in difficulty by asking him to judge the adulteress who, according to Jewish law, should be stoned. The scene, represented with six characters, is horizontally organized by the painter into three completely independent zones: on the left, the adulteress in an act of contrite repentance, elegantly dressed and flanked by two soldiers guarding her; in the center, on an advanced plane, the beautiful figure of Christ with youthful and aristocratic features, wearing an elegant red tunic covered by a large green cloak; on the right, two apostles in an attitude of astonishment and surprise at the master's choice, also placed behind Christ's figure.

The refined execution of the characters, the emotional rendering of their gestures, the psychological characterization of their expressions, the elegance of the clothing, and the development of their chromatic range, as well as the identification of the ductus, lead us to an artist of Northern European culture operating in Rome around 1620-25: Nicolas Tournier. Certainly influenced by the full Caravaggism of Bartolomeo Manfredi and the elegance of Valentin's beautiful compositions, in this "Christ and the Adulteress," undoubtedly autographed, Nicolas Tournier adheres both in style and composition ('alla Manfredi') to the so-called international Caravaggism of the second generation: austere in the expressions of the characters, intimate and collected in the narrated event (taken from the Gospel of John, VIII, 1-11), the painting is in line with Tournier's famous works such as "Christ and the Adulteress" in Brussels (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, inv. 1488) and especially "Sinite Parvulos" in the Corsini Gallery (Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Palazzo Corsini, inv. 406). The scene is essential, dramatic despite the bold chromatic contrasts of the protagonists' clothing. The choreographic grace of the ensemble is transmitted to all figures, among the most poetic in Tournier's universe. There is no doubt that this work is indeed by Tournier: just compare the typology of the faces in the painting under discussion with those present in Tournier's aforementioned works to realize it, or observe how the hands are crafted in a stereometric, angular manner. Additionally, a Tournier signature is the face of the bearded elderly man on the right, present in all of the French master's religious works.


Governale Antiquaria, Palermo
Collezione Privata



Additional information

Expertise Prof. Pierluigi Carofano confirmed by Prof. Emilio Negro

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