Jesus Walks on the Sea (Jésus marche sur la mer)
While Jesus retreats to the mountain to pray, his disciples travel ahead of him, sailing once more across stormy waters. Seeking to calm the frightened apostles, Jesus walks across the sea, but this further terrifies them as they momentarily believe him to be a ghost.
Tissot attempts to explain the fears of the disciples, in a commentary that melds his interests in scientific observation and in legend: noting the early hour designated by the Gospel account—3 a.m.—and the weather conditions, he surmises that the darkness must have been complete. But finding no other explanation for a source of light to illuminate Christ, he concludes that “light emanated from His body, and irradiated all around Him to some extent.” He concludes that only the voice of Jesus with its recognizable “ordinary” salutation—“Be of good cheer”—could reassure the disciples.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on green wove paper
Image: 11 3/16 x 4 13/16 in. (28.4 x 12.2 cm)
Sheet: 11 3/16 x 4 13/16 in. (28.4 x 12.2 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"
Purchased by public subscription
1900, purchased from the artist by the Brooklyn Museum.
This item is not on view
James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Jesus Walks on the Sea (Jésus marche sur la mer), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on green wove paper, Image: 11 3/16 x 4 13/16 in. (28.4 x 12.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.138 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.138_PS1.jpg)
overall, 00.159.138_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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