Friday, September 18, 2009

The Immaculate Conception

Title: The Immaculate Conception

Artist: Diego Velázquez

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 135 x 102 cm

Date: 1618-19

Location: National Gallery, London.

The Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain ("macula" in Latin) of original sin. Under this aspect Mary is sometimes called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic contexts. The dogma says that, from the first moment of her existence, she was preserved by God from the lack of sanctifying grace that afflicts mankind, and that she was instead filled with divine grace. It is further believed by Catholics that she lived a life completely free from sin. Her immaculate conception in the womb of her mother, through sexual intercourse, should not be confused with the doctrine of the virginal conception of her son Jesus, known as the Virgin Birth.

In this depiction painting Mary stands on a crescent moon. Enveloped in mauve satin and blue velvet, hands prayerfully joined, she gazes with pensive beneficence down upon a dark pastoral landscape. Twelve twinkling stars circle around her head, and clouds irradiated by golden light billow behind her. What is striking about this lovely picture, painted when Velázquez was just about 20 years old, is Mary's face. Painted with Vermeerish, almost photographic verisimilitude, this pretty, long-haired, big-eyed girl with the pouty lips and small chin looks uncannily modern, like a teenager you could pass on the street.

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. Intended for a learned profession, Velázquez received good training in languages and philosophy. But he showed an early gift for art; consequently, he began to study under Francisco de Herrera, a vigorous painter who disregarded the Italian influence of the early Seville school. Velázquez was not prolific; he is only estimated to have produced between 110 and 120 known canvases. Among these paintings, however, are many widely-known and influential works.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

Title: Jesus Washing Peter's Feet

Artist: Ford Madox Brown

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 116.8 x 133.3 cm

Date: 1852-6

Location: Tate Britain, London.

Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So, as recorded in John 13:4-10, he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said, "No, you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Simon Peter replied, "Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.”

The Lord knew his time on earth was ending. This was the last time he would be with all his disciples. What does John say was on his mind? His love for his disciples. And out of love he taught them one last lesson - humility. Humility and service to others is the evidence of love.

This painting of Jesus washing Peter’s feet has an unusually low viewpoint and compressed space. When first displayed, however, critics objected to the picture’s coarseness – it originally depicted Jesus only semi-clad. Though this was how Jesus was described in the Gospel, it caused an outcry when it was first exhibited and it remained unsold for several years until Brown reworked the figure in robes.

Ford Madox Brown (16 April 1821 – 6 October 1893) was an English painter of moral and historical subjects, notable for his distinctively graphic and often Hogarthian version of the Pre-Raphaelite style. Brown was an individualist and a man of prickly temperament, and his paintings, though displaying dedicated craftsmanship and brilliant coloring, have been criticized as having too heavy an emphasis on social idealism.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Virgin and Child with Angels

Title: Virgin and Child with Angels

Artist: Unknown Master (French)

Medium: Tempera on oak panel

Size: 36.8 x 26.7 cm

Date: 1395

Location: National Gallery, London.

The 'Wilton Diptych' was painted as a portable altarpiece for the private devotion of King Richard II, who ruled England from 1377 to 1399. The diptych is thought to have been made in the last five years of Richard's reign, although its artist remains unknown. It is called the Wilton Diptych because it came from Wilton House in Wiltshire, the seat of the Earls of Pembroke.

When closed, the outside of the Diptych bears King Richard's arms and his personal emblem of a white hart chained with a crown around its neck. The inside left panel simply portrays Richard II being presented by three saints, which in turn faces the right panel, a heavenly vision of the Virgin and Child and a company of eleven angels created by immaculate painting and gilding. In honor of Richard II, the angles are all outfitted with badges repeating the theme of the White Stag. Such imagery supports the divine right of kings, a political and religious doctrine that asserts a monarch derives his right to rule directly from the will of God. The doctrine implies that any attempt to depose the king or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute heresy.

It is not known who painted the Wilton Diptych; artists from England, France, Italy and Bohemia have been suggested. This is not unusual as the practice of signing a finished painting was not widespread before the late 15th century. It would probably not have occurred to the majority of early artists to put such a personal stamp on the object that they had created, particularly if it was be used in religious devotions.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Torment of St. Anthony

Title: The Torment of St. Anthony

Artist: Michelangelo

Medium: oil and tempera on a wood

Size: 47 x 33.7 cm

Date: 1488

Location: Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

The Temptation (or Temptations) of St. Anthony is an often-repeated subject in history of art and literature, concerning the supernatural temptation reportedly faced by Saint Anthony the Great during his sojourn in the Egyptian desert. Anthony's temptation is first discussed by Athanasius of Alexandria, Anthony's contemporary, and from then became a popular theme in Western culture. Athanasius reported that when the devil perceived Anthony's ascetic life and his intense worship, he was envious and beat him mercilessly, leaving him unconscious. When his friends from the local village came to visit him and found him in this condition, they carried him to a church.

Latest research holds that Michelangelo painted “The Torment of St. Anthony”, depicting the saint poised in midair and beaten by demons, between 1487 and 1488 when he was only 12 or 13. The painting’s attribution has been the subject of ferocious debate among scholars for four and a half centuries, but “The Torment of St. Anthony” has recently undergone conservation and technical research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the curator firmly believing that it was by the hand of the master. For centuries, art historians have known that Michelangelo copied an engraving of St. Anthony by the 15th-century German master Martin Schongauer for a painting. Michelangelo’s biographer and former student, Ascanio Condivi, wrote that Michelangelo had visited a local market while he was working on the painting to learn how to depict fish scales, a feature not found in the engraving. In addition to adding the fish scales, he depicted St. Anthony holding his head more erect and with an expression more detached than sad. He also added a landscape to the bottom of the composition, and created monsters that are more dramatic than those in the engraving.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer. At thirteen, Michelangelo was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. When Michelangelo was only fourteen, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay his apprentice as an artist, which was highly unusual at the time. Among his best known works are the sculpture of David and the paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Woman at the Well

Title: The Woman at the Well

Artist: Daniel Bonnell

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 61 x 96.5 cm

Date: c. 2006

Location: Anglican Church of Sussex, England.

In John 4:3-28 Jesus travels to the Samarian town of Sychar, and rests at Jacob's Well. While his disciples go into the town to get food, a Samaritan woman comes to the well and Jesus asks her for a drink. Jesus breaks all the rules of Jewish piety here, and even the woman is surprised and says that Samaritans and Jews do not associate. Jesus responds that if she really knew who he was, she would have asked him for the "water that gives life." The woman asks for this "water" and Jesus tells her to go and find her husband and bring him back. When the woman states she has no husband, Jesus says that although that is true, he know she has already been married five times and is now living with a man who is not her husband. The woman then believes that Jesus is a prophet, and he teaches her about worshipping God, declaring "The time is coming - indeed it’s here now - when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way." The woman then says that the messiah will come and explain all. Jesus declares that he is the messiah.

In the Gospel of John we see the glory of God shining ever more brightly. It shines first in kosher Jewish settings, both in the Galilean countryside and in Jerusalem, then the glory shines among various despised people who are less than kosher, including a Samaritan adulteress and a Herodian official. There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. The woman at the well was an alien and hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace a Jew. Yet to this woman Jesus revealed himself more fully than he had yet done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Daniel Bonnell is an American painter (b. 1955). A graduate of the Atlanta College of Art, he studied under renowned photographer Ansel Adams and designer Milton Glaser. Various Publications from around the world use the art of Daniel Bonnell, as well as such renown authors as Tom Wright and Alister McGrath for their book covers. His work can be found in private collections and churches around the world, as well as on his website at

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Descent into Hell

Title: Descent into Hell

Artist: Nicholas Roerich

Medium: Tempera on canvas

Size: 61 x 50 cm

Date: 1933

Location: State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow.

The Harrowing of Hell is a doctrine in Christian theology referenced in the Apostles' Creed, which states that Jesus "descended into Hell". For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was "raised from the dead" presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.”

Here, in the place of devils, Roerich uses deep sea angler fish, a recently discovered demonic denizen of the deep. This change adds further to the sensation hat Christ is descending into some alien world, familiar yet strange, as the color shifts between hot orange and cold blue tones. Roerich depicts Christ as he is most alone, before he has reached the souls who had passed before him and becomes their way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Christ’s descent into hell entails experiencing the fullness of alienation, sin and death, which he then absorbs, transfigures, and defeats through the Resurrection.

Nicholas Roerich, (October 9, 1874 - December 13, 1947) also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh (alternative transliteration), was a Russian painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, public figure. He created about 7000 paintings (many of them are exhibited in well-known museums of the world) and about 30 literary works. Roerich was an initiator of International Pact for protection of artistic and academic institutions and historical sites, and a founder of international movement for culture defense. Roerich earned several nominations for the Nobel Prize for his work to preserve cultural artifacts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ecce Homo

Title: Ecce Homo

Artist: Unknown master (Portugal)

Medium: Oil on wood

Size: 89 x 65 cm

Date: c. 1550

Location: Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon.

After a mob had chanted for his crucifixion, Pilate had Jesus led away where he was mocked, and beaten by soldiers. Then, as recounted in John 19:4-6: Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!" As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him."

In the garb of a mock king, Jesus has been portrayed to the mob not as a true king but as a harmless fool. Even his title “man” contrasts ironically with the Jewish charge: “God’s Son”. But his enemies insist he be crucified because, in part, it would signify that Jesus is accursed by God. In John's Gospel the focus is on Jesus as the revealer of God. His opponents have rejected that claim and desire his death in order to vindicate their conclusion.

Ecce Homo is a surprising depiction of Pilate’s presentation of Jesus. The figure of Jesus is detached from the deep black background by the insertion of a gold aureole, a transition between a plain abstraction and the human figure. Christ is shrouded by a white cloth that half covers his nudity yet is still punctuated by the crown of thorns. Though bloody and beaten, tied by neck and wrist, it is, paradoxically, the hidden gaze of Christ that draws the eye and most intensifies the image. This portrait shows Jesus in both his most human and most divine aspects. This religious motif is not readily identifiable in European painting other than in Portuguese pictorial production beginning in the fifteenth century.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saint Mark

Title: Saint Mark

Artist: Bicci Di Lorenzo

Medium: Tempera on wood

Size: 80 x 80cm

Date: 1398

Location: Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Florence.

Mark the Evangelist is the traditional name of the author of the Gospel of Mark. Tradition identifies him with the John Mark mentioned as a companion of Saint Paul in the Acts of the Apostles. John Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas, who was Mark’s cousin, on Paul's first missionary journey. After a sharp dispute, Barnabas separated from Paul, taking Mark with him to Cyprus. Later, according to Coptic tradition, Mark made his way to Alexandria, where the people are said to have resented his efforts to turn them away from the worship of their traditional Egyptian gods. In AD 68 they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.

This painting was one of six wood quatrefoils representing the saints originally included on the wood baldachin which surmounted the altarpiece of the Holy Mary of the Graces. Though not attracted per se to the artistic ideals and innovations of the Renaissance, di Lorenzo still placed an importance on the realism of his figures, as this painting readily displays. Depicted on a typically grand golden background, Mark himself looks saintly, but also rather lifelike, rather human.

Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452) was an Italian painter and sculptor, active in Florence. He was the son of the painter, Lorenzo di Bicci, whose workshop he joined. He married in 1418, and in 1424 was registered in the Guild of Painters at Florence. Bicci di Lorenzo died in 1452, but already for some years the running of the workshop had passed to his son Bicci di Neri, who continued its fortunes for the whole of the second half of the century, by traditional methods.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Christ before the High Priest

Title: Christ before the High Priest

Artist: Gerrit van Honthorst

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 272 x 183 cm

Date: c. 1617

Location: National Gallery, London.

As recorded in John 18:19-20, after Jesus had been arrested, the detachment of soldiers and Jewish officials brought him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."

This is one of the most famous paintings made by Honthorst in Rome, and shows the powerful influence of Caravaggio. The scene is focused on the burning candle in the centre of the composition, and beside it the arm and raised finger of the High Priest. Under Jewish law a claim to be the Messiah was punishable by death, and the book on the table in front of the High Priest contains the proscriptions of the Mosaic Law. The painting is concentrated in theme, lacking the anecdotal character that affected the work of the majority of Caravaggio's followers. In this respect, it approaches the directness of Caravaggio's own later work.

Gerrit van Honthorst (November 4, 1592 - April 27, 1656), also known as Gerard van Honthorst and in Italy as Gherardo delle Notti for his nighttime candlelit subjects, was a Dutch painter of Utrecht. According to van Honthorst's biographer, Joachim von Sandrart, the patron of Christ before the High Priest was the Marchese Vincenzo Guistiniani, in whose palace the artist stayed during his years in Rome. Honthorst may have moved to Rome as early as 1610, but was home again about 1620 and set up a school at Utrecht which flourished exceedingly.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Good Samaritan

Title: The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix)

Artist: Vincent Van Gogh

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 60 x 73 cm

Date: 1890

Location: Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands.

As recorded in Luke 10:30-36, on one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus, and questioned "Who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan: A man traveling to Jericho fell into the hands of robbers who stripped him of his clothes, beat him, and left him half dead. A priest going down the same road saw the man, but passed by on the other side. So too did a Levite. But when a Samaritan saw him, he took pity on him and bandaged his wounds. He took him to an inn to care for him. The next day he paid the innkeeper, and promised to reimburse him for any further expenses. “Which of these three,” Jesus queried, “do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

Van Gogh was staying in an institution for the mentally ill when he painted this work. It is a mirrored copy of Eugène Delacroix' Good Samaritan. Delacroix himself may have been inspired by the version by the 17th century Italian baroque artist Domenico Fetti. Van Gogh also made a copy of Delacroix' Pietà. In the background of the painting to the left two men can be seen who let the wounded man lay on the road when they passed him by. The priest and a man from the house of Levi were obviously they were not as righteous as their reputations would suggest.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist artist, a predecessor of Expressionism, whose revolutionary paintings had an enormous influence on 20th century art. Van Gogh was anxious and unsettled for most of his life. In 1880, he undertook formal art classes, and studied anatomy, still-life and landscape. He began to paint in 1882. During his last ten years he produced around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. Most of his best-known works were produced during his final two years, amid recurrent bouts of mental illness. On the evening of the 27th July 1890 van Gogh went at dusk into the fields and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. With all his strength he managed to drag himself back to the inn; here he died two days later in the arms of his brother, who had hurried to his side.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Worship before the Throne of God

Title: Worship before the Throne of God

Artist: Unknown

Medium: Illuminated Manuscript

Size: 29.5 x 20.4 cm

Date: c. 1020

Location: Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, MS A. II. 42

The Book of Revelation, also called the Revelation of St. John, the Apocalypse of John, is considered to be one of the most controversial and difficult books of the Bible, with many diverse interpretations of the various names and events in the account. In the fourth century, Gregory of Nazianzus and other bishops argued against including this book in the New Testament canon, chiefly because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the danger for abuse. Regardless, Revelation was a powerful message of hope for those early Christians who had to suffer or die for their faith.

The entire 4th chapter of Revelation is a vision of the throne room of God. God is the chief and primary subject in view pictured as being seated on a throne. The language describing Him paints a picture of glory, power, and majesty: “the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.” Various heavenly creatures and retainers praised God as flashes of lightning and roars of thunder came out from the throne.

The Bamberg Apocalypse is a richly illuminated manuscript containing the Book of Revelation, and a Gospel Lectionary containing lessons from the Gospels for use in liturgy. The Bamberg Apocalypse was commissioned by Otto III, and is among the most marvelous illuminated medieval manuscripts and the only illustrated cycle of the Apocalypse produced by Ottonian book painting. The leading scriptorium of the empire endowed the manuscript with imperial luxury: 57 miniatures on gilded ground and over 100 golden initials ornate its 106 leafs. After the early and unexpected death of the emperor at the age of 21, the codex remained unfinished for some time in the scriptorium of Reichenau before his successor Henry II ordered the manuscript to be finished.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Title: The Lamentation over the Dead Christ

Artist: Andrea Mantegna

Medium: Tempera on canvas

Size: 68 x 81 cm

Date: c. 1490

Location: Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

The dating of this painting is debated, there are several assumptions ranging from the end of the Paduan period of the artist (c. 1457) to 1501. This painting may have been intended for the artist’s own funeral, and, in fact, it was shown at the head of his catafalque when he died. The most remarkable aspect of the painting is the perspective construction whereby the image of Christ appears to "follow" the spectator around the room through the use of an illusionistic technique.

The simple window-like framing of the confined space in this painting architecturally defines it as the cold and dismal cell of a morgue. Looking in we see an almost monstrous spectacle: a heavy corpse, seemingly swollen by the exaggerated foreshortening. The faces are seamed by wrinkles, which harmonize with the watery satin of the pinkish pillow, the pale granulations of the marble slab and the veined onyx of the ointment jar. The damp folds of the shroud emphasize the folds in the tight skin, which is like torn parchment around the dry wounds. Mantegna's creative power lies in his own interpretation of the historic, his feeling for spectacle on a small as well as a large scale. He has a tragic sense of the history and destiny of man, and of the problems of good and evil, life and death.

Andrea Mantegna (c. 1431 – September 13, 1506) was a Venetian Renaissance artist, and a student of Roman archeology. Mantegna experimented with perspective in order to create a sense of greater monumentality. His flinty, metallic landscapes and somewhat stony figures give evidence of a fundamentally sculptural approach to painting. One of the key artistic figures of the second half of the 15th century, Mantegna was the dominant influence on north Italian painting for 50 years. It was also through him that German artists, notably Albrecht Dürer, were made aware of the artistic discoveries of the Italian Renaissance.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Penitent Magdalen

Title: The Penitent Magdalen

Artist: Georges de La Tour

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 133.4 x 102.2 cm

Date: 1638-43

Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Mary Magdalene is described in the New Testament as the most important woman in the movement of Jesus. As a follower, Mary was one of many women who accompanied Jesus and the twelve apostles during his travels. Mary followed Jesus to the very end, and was the first to witness his resurrection. In The Gospel of Luke 8:1-3, she is described as one of a group of women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases, specifically, as one “from whom seven demons had come out.”

Magdalene was the object of great devotion in France and La Tour painted several pictures representing her. This picture shows Mary Magdalene in a dark room at the dramatic moment of her conversion, her features lit by a candle flame that imparts a hauntingly spiritual quality to the work. The elaborate silver mirror, the pearls on the table, and the jewels on the floor symbolize luxury, which she has cast aside. In their place she clasps a skull, a common symbol of mortality.

Georges de La Tour (March 13, 1593, Vic-sur-Seille – January 30, 1652, Lunéville) was a painter, who spent most of his working life in the Duchy of Lorraine, which became part of France the year before his death. La Tour's work exhibits a high degree of originality in color and composition; the characteristic simplification of forms gives many of his pictures a deceptively modern appearance. Although the chronology of La Tour's output is uncertain, it is clear that he initially painted in a realistic manner and was influenced by the dramatic chiaroscuro of Caravaggio or his followers. The paintings of La Tour's maturity, however, are marked by a startling geometric simplification of the human form and by the depiction of interior scenes lit only by the glare of candles or torches. His religious paintings done in this manner have a monumental simplicity and a stillness that expresses both contemplative quiet and wonder.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Sermon of the Beatitudes

Title: The Sermon of the Beatitudes

Artist: James Tissot

Medium: Watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper

Size: 24.4 x 16.4 cm

Date: c. 1890

Location: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York.

The Gospel of Matthew records the early ministry of Jesus in a matter-of-fact style. Chapter 4:23-25 reports, “And Jesus was going about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the reign, and healing every disease, and every malady among the people, and his fame went forth to all Syria, and they brought to him all having ailments, pressed with manifold sicknesses and pains, and demoniacs, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And there followed him many multitudes from Galilee, and Decapolis, and Jerusalem, and Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”

These events lead up to one the most widely read passages of Christian scripture, when Jesus, having seen the multitudes that followed him, went up the side of a mountain to teach. The Sermon of the Beatitudes is full of Gods’ love and wisdom, and ends with the declaration “when Jesus ended these words, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes.” Tissot’s depiction of Jesus as he is about to begin his sermon is both realistically accurate, rendering a rocky formation a speaker could use to have his voice heard by thousands, and has a keen spiritual feel as Jesus almost appears to be aloft, as though he is floating above the gathering multitude, prefiguring his own Ascension.

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (October 15, 1836 – August 8, 1902) was a French painter. After the death of his longtime companion Kathleen Newton in 1882, Tissot spent some time in Palestine. In Paris in 1896 he débuted the series of 350 drawings of the life of Christ, and the following year found them on show in London. They were then published by the firm of Lemercier in Paris, who paid him 1,100,000 francs. The merits of Tissot's Bible illustrations lay in the care with which he studied the details of scenery rather than any religious sentimentality. He seemed to aim for accuracy, and, in his figures, for vivid realism, which was far removed from the conventional treatment of sacred types.