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Bird's-Eye View of the Forum: Jesus Hears His Death Sentence (Le Forum "vu à vol d'oiseau." Jésus entend sa condamnation à mort)

James Tissot

European Art

Throughout the series, Tissot adopted compositional strategies that permit—and indeed, force—the viewer into the action of the narrative as a participant. In a significant departure from this practice, however, Tissot here presents an expansive view from above the public forum where Jesus hears his death sentence. Although the figures are minute, the red-cloaked Jesus, flanked on either side by the thieves condemned to die with him, can be clearly discerned standing before Pilate, who sits surrounded by the priests in a bright white semicircular colonnade, or hemicycle.

To the left of this, the marble column still bears the traces of the flagellation. At center, the Roman soldiers prepare the cross to be borne by Jesus, while a large crowd assembles to hear the sentence.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 6 15/16 x 11 9/16 in. (17.6 x 29.4 cm) Sheet: 6 15/16 x 11 9/16 in. (17.6 x 29.4 cm) Frame: 15 x 20 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 50.8 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom center: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.274
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    PROVENANCE 1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
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    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey–Buillon, France). Bird's-Eye View of the Forum: Jesus Hears His Death Sentence (Le Forum "vu à vol d'oiseau." Jésus entend sa condamnation à mort), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 6 15/16 x 11 9/16 in. (17.6 x 29.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.274 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.274_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.274_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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