Skip Navigation

The Youth of Jesus (Jeunesse de Jésus)

James Tissot

European Art

Although the Gospels are silent on the years between Christ’s childhood and his ministry—providing no specific indication of his training or education—Tissot adheres to tradition and depicts Jesus as a faithful son to his earthly father, assisting Joseph with the work of the carpentry shop. In his commentary, Tissot spurned apocryphal legends of wondrous doings by the Christ Child, insisting that such deeds would have aroused attention, whether awe or suspicion, and would have been mentioned in the Gospel accounts.

Anticipating the Passion, in which he will carry the cross, the young Jesus shoulders a board for use in the shop, while his parents look on with foreboding.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886-1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 8 13/16 x 5 9/16 in. (22.4 x 14.1 cm) Sheet: 8 13/16 x 5 9/16 in. (22.4 x 14.1 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom left: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.42
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
    This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    CAPTION James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Youth of Jesus (Jeunesse de Jésus), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 13/16 x 5 9/16 in. (22.4 x 14.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.42 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.42_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.42_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.