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The Cock Crowed (Le coq chanta)

James Tissot

European Art

When warned by Jesus that he would deny him three times before the cock crowed—before the dawn—Peter vehemently objected, asserting his fidelity and pledging to die alongside Jesus.

However, the prophecy is realized. Peter first denies his status as a disciple to the maidservant who points an accusatory finger at him while guarding the door to the chief priest’s chamber. Later, admitted to the priest’s rooms, where he warms himself by the fire, Peter again rejects the association when asked a second time; his hands are raised in protest as all await his response.

Finally, questioned a third time, Peter again denies knowing Jesus, just as the cock crows. Betrayed by his disciple, as he had foretold, Jesus in this image looks in Peter’s direction with sadness, as he is escorted away by a jeering crowd. Peter hides from view behind a thick stone archway, his arm covering his face.

Eager to provide insight into the precise timing of the events as they unfolded, Tissot in his commentary refers to his experiences of the Middle East and suggests that the rooster’s third crowing must have occurred at around three in the morning.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 6 7/8 x 3 9/16 in. (17.5 x 9 cm) Sheet: 6 7/8 x 3 9/16 in. (17.5 x 9 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
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.250
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    PROVENANCE 1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION James Tissot (Nantes, France, 1836–1902, Chenecey–Buillon, France). The Cock Crowed (Le coq chanta), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 6 7/8 x 3 9/16 in. (17.5 x 9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.250 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.250_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.250_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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