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Jesus Carried up to a Pinnacle of the Temple (Jésus porté sur le pinacle du Temple)

James Tissot

European Art

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.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (22.2 x 15.9 cm) Sheet: 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (22.2 x 15.9 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 00.159.52
    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). Jesus Carried up to a Pinnacle of the Temple (Jésus porté sur le pinacle du Temple), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. (22.2 x 15.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.52 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.52_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.52_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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