Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness (Jésus tenté dans le désert)
Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke all describe Christ’s temptations by Satan, Tissot cites only the version given by Luke. For reasons that remain unclear, he changes the order of the tests given by Luke.
In Tissot’s first image, Satan abducts Jesus and soars to a precipitous height—emphasized by the low, bright horizon line in the distance. The shadowy darkness of the claw-toed devil contrasts with Jesus’ pristine white cloak. From their great height, Satan tempts Jesus with the many kingdoms he could command if he rejected God and worshipped the devil instead.
In Tissot’s second image, after Jesus has fasted for forty days in the desert to prepare for his ministry, Satan urges him to end his hunger by turning stones into bread. Jesus refuses, despite his suffering. In Luke’s telling, Jesus invokes a verse from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, proclaiming: “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Image: 8 7/8 x 13 5/16 in. (22.5 x 33.8 cm)
Sheet: 8 7/8 x 13 5/16 in. (22.5 x 33.8 cm)
Frame: 16 7/8 x 22 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (42.9 x 58.1 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom left: "J.J. Tissot"
Purchased by public subscription
1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
This item is not on view
James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness (Jésus tenté dans le désert), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 7/8 x 13 5/16 in. (22.5 x 33.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.51 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.51_PS1.jpg)
overall, 00.159.51_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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