Soldier with Wine Glass

Nicolas Tournier

Montbéliard, 1590 – Toulouse, 1639

Oil on canvas, 130 x 93cm

Inv. 15

The Galleria Estense, Modena

This work came to Modena from the Roman collection of Cardinal Alessandro d’Este (Ferrara, 1568 – Rome, 1624) after his death along with the corresponding work, The Fiasco Drinker (inv. 41). 

It is a significant example of Caravaggesque painting, or rather of that composite artistic current which employed the powerful inventions of the revolutionary Lombard master and  spread them during the first decades of the 1600s in simplified, yet greatly evocative forms. In offering the glass of wine with an engaging look, the soldier emerging from the shadow seems to initiate a cultivated, perhaps moralising conversation with the viewer, setting in a common osteria echoes of the ancient myth of Bacchus.. The high quality of the painting along with the exquisitely fine application of colour and the attention to the drawn line,  indicate Nicolas Tournier as the author. Tournier worked in Rome between 1619 and 1626 and was one of the most talented interpreters of Caravaggio’s visual language.