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The Dead Appear in the Temple (Les morts apparaissent dans le Temple)

James Tissot

European Art

While the scenes of the Crucifixion examine the precise mechanics of the execution, lending a credible veracity to the ancient events, this image takes a more mystical or fantastical approach.

Immediately after the death of Jesus, Matthew writes, tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy persons who had died came back to life, went into the city, and showed themselves to the people. Tissot paints the risen dead as spectral forms, flying through Jerusalem and the Temple precinct, scattering the living, who fear that contact with the dead will defile them. In the Temple, resurrected priests, garbed in the costume of their rank, fly through the court, rising like the smoke from the altar of burnt sacrifice.
MEDIUM Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES 1886–1894
    DIMENSIONS Image: 8 7/16 x 11 3/16 in. (21.4 x 28.4 cm) Sheet: 8 7/16 x 11 3/16 in. (21.4 x 28.4 cm) Frame: 15 x 20 x 1 1/2 in. (38.1 x 50.8 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed bottom right: "J.J. Tissot"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 00.159.311
    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). The Dead Appear in the Temple (Les morts apparaissent dans le Temple), 1886–1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 8 7/16 x 11 3/16 in. (21.4 x 28.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.311 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.311_PS2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 00.159.311_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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