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Good Friday Morning: Jesus in Prison (Le matin Vendredi Saint: Jésus en prison)

James Tissot

European Art

In a subject that he characterizes as “rarely, if ever, treated,” Tissot paints Jesus in prison—bound to a stone post, his hands chained but upraised in prayer. The artist notes the white light shining down, a further indication of the early hour on Good Friday. While Jesus prays, his guards, wearing armor, slump over in pre-dawn slumber.

Dressed in a brown garment, Jesus has been stripped of the glowing white robe associated with his ministry. Now, as Tissot notes in the accompanying text, he wears just the seamless cloak that he has worn since his youth. This garment, first seen in The Youth of Jesus, was woven by the Virgin and, according to legend, grew as he did.

Archaeologically rigorous and eager to locate the relics associated with Christ’s Passion, Tissot claims that fragments of the stone post are now in the Church of Santa Prassede in Rome.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886-1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 17 1/2 x 4 3/4 in. (44.5 x 12.1 cm) Sheet: 9 5/16 x 4 3/4 in. (23.7 x 12.1 cm) Frame: 20 x 15 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 38.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom left: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.253
    CREDIT LINE Purchased by public subscription
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Good Friday Morning: Jesus in Prison (Le matin Vendredi Saint: Jésus en prison), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 17 1/2 x 4 3/4 in. (44.5 x 12.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.253
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.253_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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