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Jesus Sits by the Seashore and Preaches (Jésus s'assied au bord de la mer et prêche)

James Tissot

European Art

For this scene, Tissot directly integrated one of the motifs from his extensive sketching campaigns in Palestine into a finished composition for the Gospel narrative. Here, a large boulder the artist had drawn by the Sea of Tiberias becomes the rock on which Jesus sits as he preaches to his followers.

Such direct correlations between the sketched motif and the Gospel narrative evoke Tissot’s claim for what he termed hyperaesthesia—a combination of direct observation of his surroundings and mystical revelation. In the introduction to his Bible, he claimed: “It is in the Holy Land itself … that the mind is best attuned alike to receive and grasp the significance of every impression…. I felt that a certain receptivity was induced in my mind which so intensified my powers of intuition, that the scenes of the past rose up before my mental vision in a peculiar and striking manner…. I meditated on any special incident in its own particular sanctuary, and was thus brought into touch with the actual setting of every scene, the facts I was anxious to evoke were revealed to me.…”
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886-1896
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 10 3/16 x 7 9/16 in. (25.9 x 19.2 cm) Image: 10 3/16 x 7 9/16 in. (25.9 x 19.2 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.109
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Jesus Sits by the Seashore and Preaches (Jésus s'assied au bord de la mer et prêche), 1886-1896. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Sheet: 10 3/16 x 7 9/16 in. (25.9 x 19.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.109
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.109_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (86%)
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