James Tissot: The Life of Christ Hardcover – 1 Oct 2009
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All 350 watercolours depicting the life of Christ are reproduced in this exquisite volume, which lovers of Victorian art will appreciate for their realist and ethereal quality --The Bookseller
About the Author
JUDITH F. DOLKART is Associate Curator, European Art, at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. DAVID MORGAN is Professor of Religion at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. AMY SITAR is a PhD student in the Department of Religion at Princeton University, New Jersey.
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Top Customer Reviews
I then decided I want a Tissot Bible. Upon looking for a Tissot I found a Catholic bible and was shocked to realize it was a bible I already have but not yet read. I already have a Tissot bible lol, before my Dad even got his books!
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Saturday October 24th my wife and I went to view the exhibit of Tissot's Life of Christ organized by Judith Dolkart. Never have I witnessed a more moving and thoughtful portrayal of Jesus birth, ministry, passion and resurrection. The descriptions with each work were exceptional, briefly telling the story illustrated, exploring the paintings, reflecting on the artist's process as explained in his own commentaries. I would urge anyone interested in the life of Jesus to come and spend a couple of hours. Take your time and read the stories, look into the paintings,and search your heart. Mine was deeply moved. I can see why people at the original exhibitions of these works wept before them. My profound thanks to the Brooklyn Museum and to Judith Dolkart! Friend, do not miss this exceptional opportunity and touching exhibition! You may want to take a preview at [...]
Now for the exhibit catalog! This stunningly beautiful 302 page treasure is alive with with high quality full color reproductions of the paintings about half the size of the originals. The end papers of the book are huge and dramatic depictions of Jerusalem. Each section features a breathtaking full page detail of one of the paintings.
Exhibit Curator Judith Dolkart and David Morgan from Duke University provide intriguing articles about Tissot's life journey, his process for creating this series, the interesting role of this collection in the growth and development of the Brooklyn Museum, and the chapter in American Religious life created by Tissot's Bible. I expect to spend many hours savoring the prints and exploring the story told so richly by each painting.
Are there limitations to Tissot's effort to capture the Bible as it happened? Of course. Yet for anyone wanting to explore the life of Jesus imaginatively and emotionally in its beauty and courage, richness and depth, traveling the pilgrimage in this book will be a profound blessing! The quality images of Tissot's extensive New Testament works from cover to cover make this book a gem!
Books reproducing this series were published in France and the United States. In 1900 after a tour in the U.S., the complete series came into the possession of the Brooklyn Museum.
Tissot's paintings were popular not only for their religious subject coinciding with a rise in religious feelings and interests in late Victorian-era America and pre-World War I Europe, but also for their straightforward style. The paintings are in an illustration style; similar to ones seen in periodicals and illustrated books of the period. They reflect no inklings of impressionism or any of the other budding modern art styles of Tissot's day. One sees in them some harbingers of the art of N. C. Wyeth and other illustrators of the following decades. In Tissot's paintings though one occasionally sees symbols such as pale, ghostly hands reaching across a pool of water or dark wings for Satan; and occasionally an aura around Jesus's head. But the effects of the paintings are mostly in the coloration creating mood, poses (often dramatic) of the central figures, and the setting of the scene as if in a play.
An appreciative and enthusiastic public was attracted to Tissot's paintings by their details of "landscape, architecture, vegetation, costumes, and customs of the Holy Land." This gave the paintings an exotic appearance arousing curiosity and myriad points of interest with their evocation of spirituality.
Tissot's aim was to "revivify the imagination of modern Europeans and Americans by depicting the life of Jesus in scenes that departed from visual conventions, but not entirely." The sheer number of paintings picturing incidents from the life of Christ and also related Holy Land scenes and figures was a visual biography which was as educating as it was visually engaging. With the hundreds of paintings grouped into major parts of the life of Christ (e. g., The Ministry, The Passion) mostly two to a page, today's readers can have the same experience. Essays preceding the sections of paintings go into the social context making Tissot's project such a sensation in its day and also how it was eventually acquired despite some opposition on financial and religious grounds by the Brooklyn museum.
At the same time the watercolors remind me of the kind of stylized Sunday School art I knew as a
child. That is not to denigrate Tissot's work but for me to place it in a context, depicting the
life of Christ. I responded with curiosity to religious art as a child. As an adult I am drawn
to Tissot's work reflectively, with an eye for his art in its religious expression. The two are
not contradictory, art and relgious expresson considering the association from centuries
past. Only in our more secular age is it perhaps given short shrift. Or that may be to speak also
of style considering Tissot from late 19th century into the 20th. Regardless, these
watercolors both remind the viewer of an earlier form, and are in themselves a compelling current
expression of the relgious in artistic representation.
"James Tissot's: The Life Of Christ" contains the complete collection of Tissot's 350 watercolors detailing scenes from the gospels and the life of Christ!
Tissot was a French painter of the 19th century better known for his works of the French 'social scene' rather than any religious works but after Tissot took a trip to the Holy Land something happened. Tissot had to record his version of the life of Christ and he did so in a series of drawings and watercolors. It took ten years to complete this project: hundreds of drawings as well as the 350 watercolors.
When Tissot exhibited his work... "The Life Of Christ" became the talk of the town and the critics and the public on both sides of the Atlantic praised him for his total realistic approach to his depiction of Christ and his times. In exquisite detail Tissot 'rigorously captures the archeological and ethnographic details of the time.' In other words he painted the people and their environment as they were during Christs lifetime... not the idealized version so common in the works of many of the Old Masters.
Tissot's "Life Of Christ" consists of five parts: The Holy Childhood, The Ministry, Holy Week, The Passion and finally The Resurrection.
Each part contains beautiful illustrations... but some of the best art is in the Passion sequence. Here Tissot exhibits all of the anguish of Christ's last days; his suffering, his compassion, his pain- and his death!
The picture 'Jesus meeting his mother' is overwhelming; Mary's anguish at having to watch helplessly as her son staggers with the weight of that cross.
The pictures alone are worth the price of the book... but the essays are extremely helpful in understanding the total scope of Tissot's project. Judith Dolkart does an excellent job detailing the information in a most readable and enjoyable text.