The Calling of Saint Matthew (Vocation de Saint Mathieu)
Jesus further shows his acceptance of those rejected by society by inviting Matthew—a publican, or toll collector—into his ministry, as he passes his booth. Not only were these tax collectors considered unscrupulous, but they were also particularly loathed by devout Jews for their status as representatives of the ruling Romans. Tissot has included camels and the hint of a wide-arched gate to underscore Matthew’s location at a geographical (and perhaps, spiritual) crossroads, as well as adding an Eastern flourish.
After Christ calls Matthew to his teachings, he takes a meal in the home of his new disciple, an act that occasions the suspicion of devout passersby. In answer to questions of his motives, Jesus merely replies that, like a physician, he heals the sick, not the healthy.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Image: 10 1/4 x 6 5/8 in. (26 x 16.8 cm)
Sheet: 10 1/4 x 6 5/8 in. (26 x 16.8 cm)
Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)
Signed bottom left: "J.J. Tissot"
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