The Return of the Prodigal Son (Le retour de l'enfant prodigue)
In this parable, a young man leaves the comfort of family, wanders foreign lands, and resorts to begging after wasting a fortune through debauchery. Returning, he receives the embrace of his father, who warmly welcomes him home despite his mistakes, prompting the young man to repent the rejection of his family.
Tissot had treated the Prodigal Son subject several times before, first in the guise of early historicizing scenes that helped establish his career and then, in the early 1880s, as a series of paintings and later etchings set in Victorian England. As many scholars have pointed out, the parable may have had a particular autobiographical resonance for Tissot, who had left his homeland—trading his native France for England during the 1870s—and who had a reputation for scandalous romances and luxurious living before a return to the faith of his youth with The Life of Christ.
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
Image: 8 11/16 x 5 1/2 in. (22.1 x 14 cm)
Sheet: 8 11/16 x 5 1/2 in. (22.1 x 14 cm)
Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm) (show scale)
Signed bottom left: "J.J. Tissot"
This item is not on view
Purchased by public subscription
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Return of the Prodigal Son (Le retour de l'enfant prodigue), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 11/16 x 5 1/2 in. (22.1 x 14 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.185
overall, 00.159.185_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.