Jesus Ministered to by Angels (Jésus assisté par les anges)
In James Tissot’s epic The Life of Christ, a set of 350 watercolors, his naturalistic style coexists with a decidedly mystical or hallucinatory one, which earned him comparisons to William Blake. These three examples visualize miraculous moments in the narrative.
Tissot was a successful society painter who, after experiencing a religious vision in 1885, devoted the rest of his career to spiritual subject matter. He made two trips to Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, where he created extensive figure and landscape studies for his project, believing that this “pencil reporting from the life of Christ” would endow his scenes with historical accuracy.
Tissot exhibited the completed series in paid-entry showings in London and in several U.S. cities, where it was a resounding public success, if not always a critical one. In 1900 the painter John Singer Sargent urged A. Augustus Healy, then president of the Brooklyn Museum’s board of trustees, to purchase the series for the young institution. The same year, a public subscription campaign to acquire the works was inaugurated and the Museum bought Tissot’s religious tour de force for the then very high price of $60,000.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Image: 6 11/16 x 9 3/4 in. (17 x 24.8 cm)
Sheet: 6 11/16 x 9 3/4 in. (17 x 24.8 cm)
Frame: 15 x 20 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 50.8 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
This item is not on view
Purchased by public subscription
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James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Jesus Ministered to by Angels (Jésus assisté par les anges), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 6 11/16 x 9 3/4 in. (17 x 24.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.54 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.54_PS1.jpg)
overall, 00.159.54_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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