Skip Navigation

The Voice from on High (La voix d'en haut)

James Tissot

European Art

Standing on a raised platform before the Court of the Gentiles outside the Temple, Jesus first considers asking God to save him from his impending sacrifice; but then, recognizing its necessity in the divine plan, he instead glorifies God’s name. The Lord responds from the heavens: some in the crowd hear thunder, others the voice of an angel. Jesus acknowledges his forthcoming death to those gathered.

With this image, Tissot again blends his interest in historical accuracy with a sense of mystery and wonder. He sets the scene in a very specific archaeological place: on a terrace elevated above the Court of Gentiles, noting that non-Jews were forbidden from this platform under pain of death. However, the artist also underscores the awe of the crowd as they hear the voice from on high—many cower as they look up at the sky with raised hands and wide eyes.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 7 7/16 x 10 3/8 in. (18.9 x 26.4 cm) Sheet: 7 7/16 x 10 3/8 in. (18.9 x 26.4 cm) Frame: 15 x 20 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 50.8 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.203
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    PROVENANCE 1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The image is comprised of many layers of opaque watercolor. Graphite lines appear along the top and right edges, presumably as guidelines to cutting the piece down. It is mounted to a secondary support of cream-colored wove paper.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey–Buillon, France). The Voice from on High (La voix d'en haut), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 7 7/16 x 10 3/8 in. (18.9 x 26.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.203 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.203_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.203_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "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.
    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
    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.