The Good Shepherd (Le bon pasteur)
Speaking to those who challenge his teachings and his deeds, Jesus likens himself to the good shepherd, pictured here, who devotes his life, and sacrifices his own well-being, to protect the sheep in his care. This analogy anticipates the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus will make for his “flock” of followers and humankind.
Tissot notes that this parable is among the most beautiful in the Gospels—and, indeed, one with an enduring visual history. The artist cites the earliest examples in the catacombs of ancient Rome. But again seeking to distance himself from previous visual traditions, Tissot asserts that this image found its roots in the devoted acts of caretaking among shepherds that he witnessed.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Image: 11 1/16 x 5 7/8 in. (28.1 x 14.9 cm)
Sheet: 11 1/16 x 5 7/8 in. (28.1 x 14.9 cm)
Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
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James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Good Shepherd (Le bon pasteur), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 11 1/16 x 5 7/8 in. (28.1 x 14.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.106 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.106_PS2.jpg)
overall, 00.159.106_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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